The US Department of Energy has been awarded a contract to help solar-powered homes get energy from solar panels.
The department says the deal is worth $1.9bn and will help power 5 million solar installations, the first phase of a $5bn programme to expand the use of solar panels across the country.
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the US-based SolarCity and solar panel company NextEra had signed a “major energy-sharing agreement” with the Department of Homeland Security.
“We’re delighted to see these companies taking this innovative step to help our communities transition to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources, such as solar panels, which is vital to keeping our homes and businesses on track for the challenges that come with climate change,” Mr Frydenber said.
The Department of Labor announced on Thursday it was awarding $3.9m in funding to the company to help it design and build new solar-equipped homes, businesses and offices.
“Our goal is to help these solar installations generate enough energy to power about 5 million homes, but we’re not going to do that by relying solely on solar panels alone,” Mr Crocker said.
“This is going to help us expand our energy portfolio to include solar-based power generation.”
Solar panels generate enough electricity to power approximately 1.5 million homesA solar panel, which measures just 1.7 metres by 1.2 metres, measures just 5.8 metres by 4.5 metres.
In a solar-power installation, solar panels generate a small amount of energy and then are used to power other equipment, like lighting and air conditioning.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the agreement would help solar power companies build more than 600,000 new panels by 2020, including an additional 600,0000 installed this year.
“These solar-generated energy credits will be a critical component in helping the solar industry build and install thousands of new solar panels over the next decade,” he said.
A spokeswoman for NextEa said the company had been awarded the contract in September to provide power generation for 1.8 million solar-panel installations.
“Solar Energy is a key component of our business model and this project will help us continue to grow our portfolio of solar-generating projects,” she said.
In February, the US Department on Energy and Environment said it had awarded a $1bn contract to install $600m worth of solar power to 1.9 million households in 25 states and Puerto Rico.
In December, the federal government announced a $600 million incentive to help install solar power in the US.
The US solar industry is expected to grow at a rapid rate, with new installations expected to total 1.4 gigawatts by 2020.
The Department on Climate Change said it planned to award a $300m incentive to install more than 2.5 gigawatts of solar energy by the end of the decade.