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US Energy Department allocates grants to solar energy grid project at Fraunhofer Center

The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems is in line to receive up to $11.7 million in grants from the US Department of Energy for a project that seeks to develop technologies that will enable homeowners to select the right solar system for their houses, the department said Friday.

Based in Cambridge, the Fraunhofer Center is to receive the money over a five-year period, subject to congressional appropriations, the department said in a press release.

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According to its website, the center is an applied research and development laboratory dedicated to the commercialization of clean energy technologies. Founded in 2008 and supported by the Massachusetts state government, the center is part of an international research network led the Fraunhofer Society of Germany, Europe’s largest contract R&D organization.

The Energy Department said it is making grants to the center under its SunShot Initiative, which is working to make solar energy competitive with other forms of energy without subsidy by the end of the decade.

A goal of the initiative is to advance affordable, reliable clean energy for US families and businesses, including innovative plug-and-play technologies aimed at improving grid connection and reducing installation costs.

“The price of solar panels has fallen dramatically in recent years, but we also need to reduce the cost and time required to actually install them in homes and businesses, and help utility companies better integrate renewable energy into the grid,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement. “Projects like these can help reduce the cost of solar power and make it easier for American families and businesses to access clean, affordable energy.”

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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