General Electric, 3M, DuPont and twenty one other companies were given the green light by the U.S. government for up to $22 million worth in investments for projects with the potential to impact the photovoltaic (PV) solar industry within two to six years, the Department of Energy announced Thursday.

Non-solar companies have many technologies and practices that are beneficial to the PV industry ... that can be used in PV-specific manufacturing methods and products, said the Department of Energy in a statement unveiling the awarded projects.

The cost reduction as a result of these improvements might be small in terms of a single product or processing step, however the overall impact of these ideas become significant when implemented across the PV industry, the department stated.

The companies will develop PV Supply Chain and Cross-Cutting Technologies projects ranging from automated assembly to semiconductor fabrication, and target manufacturing and product cost reduction.

The companies with their partners will provide more than $50 million in matching funds.