Padilla Announces $7 Million to Enhance Solar Manufacturing and Recycling in California, Strengthen the Clean Energy Grid

Funding will help establish domestic solar supply chain, increase energy security, and boost economic opportunities in communities throughout California

CALIFORNIA — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced $7 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for five projects across California to strengthen domestic solar supply chain. These research, development, and demonstration projects will help to enhance domestic solar manufacturing, support the recycling of solar panels, and develop new American-made solar technologies.

“As we continue to grapple with the impacts of climate change, it is critical that we invest in domestic clean energy projects that improve our energy grid resilience and strengthen our energy independence,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “The funding for these California projects will help create the smart and accessible solutions we need to grow our clean energy production in order to help us meet President Biden’s goal of a 100 percent clean electricity grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The following California projects selected will help reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of panel recycling processes. They include:

  1. $1.5 million for Solarcycle, Inc. (Oakland, CA): This project aims to recover key materials from end-of-life solar panels with high purity by developing a mechanical method to concentrate the materials, followed by an environmentally friendly chemical process to recover them.
  2. $1.5 million for University of California Berkeley (Berkeley, CA): This project will develop materials to selectively remove a variety of metals from solar photovoltaic panels for reuse and recycling.
  3. $1 million University of California San Diego (La Jolla, CA): This project will develop new materials to layer between the solar cell itself and the packaging layers of the solar module that can be “unzipped” to easily disassemble the module into its component materials for reuse and recycling.

The projects in the Solar Manufacturing Incubator program will accelerate commercialization of innovative product ideas to boost the U.S. solar supply chain. The U.S. is the leader in cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology, the second most common PV technology after silicon. The investments will help promote cheaper, more efficient solar cells and advance CdTe and perovskite solar manufacturing—two technologies vital to diversifying the solar supply chain. The selected projects in California include:

  1. $1.6 million for LITESPEED Energy (Livermore, CA): This project will improve floating PV systems, making them more resilient to wind and waves.
  2. $1.4 million for Mirai Solar (Mountain View, CA): This project will further develop and commercialize a foldable PV solar screen with variable shading and output power for controlled environment greenhouses.

Padilla is a staunch advocate for clean energy projects. Most recently, Senator Padilla introduced the Airport Energy Resiliency and Renewable Energy Act, legislation aimed at helping airports invest in renewable generation resources like solar panels, battery storage systems, and microgrids. Padilla also introduced the Clean Energy for All Homes Act, which would help families and homeowners, both in California and across the country, afford solar roof paneling and other renewable energy technology installations to save money on their energy bills.


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