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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

The Energy Department is aiming to help lower solar power costs by 60% over the next decade as the Biden administration looks to greatly speed up deployment of solar and other climate-friendly sources.

Why it matters: The target, paired with new funding for development of more advanced solar tech, is among Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm's first initiatives.

And it's part of a broader administration push to have various zero-emissions-generating sources together provide 100% of U.S. power by 2050 — a massive expansion that will require a suite of policies and Capitol Hill help.

By the numbers: DOE today said they're targeting solar costs of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2025 and and 2 cents by 2030.

  • It replaces a prior goal of hitting that 3-cent target by 2030 and comes as costs have already been coming down for years.
  • "In many parts of the country, solar is already cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels, and with more innovation we can cut the cost again by more than half within the decade," Granholm said in a statement.
  • Solar has grown a lot in recent years, but still represents just 2.3% of total U.S. power, per the Energy Information Administration, which is the DOE's independent statistical arm.

Yes, but: Driving down costs further is just one element of vastly scaling up solar power deployment.

Other needs include expansion of batteries and other forms of storage to pair with intermittent renewable sources, and new transmission infrastructure.

What's new: DOE today announced roughly $128 million in new funding for various solar efforts, including $40 million for various outside R&D and performance validation initiatives for technologies that use a family of materials called perovskites.

  • Another part of the funding is $20 million for National Renewable Energy Laboratory consortium to bolster development of lower cost cadmium telluride solar cells, which are currently less common than silicon tech.

Go deeper

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.