Sunshot Initiative to Spend $107 Million for Solar Technology Innovation Research

Sunshot Initiative DOE

The U.S. Energy Department announced up to $107 million in new projects and planned funding in order to support  clean energy innovation through solar technology. Under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) SunShot Initiative, the Department will fund 40 projects with a total of $42 million to improve solar PV performance, reliability, and manufacturability, and to enable greater market penetration for solar technologies. In addition to the new projects announced just announced, the Department intends to make up to $65 million, subject to appropriation, in additional funding available for upcoming solar research and development projects to continue driving down the cost of solar energy and accelerating widespread national deployment. 

One of SunShot’s goals is to drive down the levelized cost of utility-scale solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour without incentives by 2020. The projects and new funding announced today aim to reach costs well below that threshold, furthering the Obama Administration’s commitment to advancing solar technology as a resource for clean energy in America’s low-carbon economy.

“Since 2008, the commitments made by the Department of Energy have contributed to solar PV’s deployment growing 30-fold and overall costs falling more than 60%,” said Under Secretary for Science and Energy Franklin Orr. “Continuing to invest in solar technologies will help to drive down costs even further for American consumers and ensure that the U.S. maintains global leadership in this century’s clean energy economy.”

These announcements encompass several programs within EERE’s SunShot Initiative. Additional details on the announcements are below:

PV RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: $17 MILLION FOR 19 ADVANCED PV TECHNOLOGIES

The SunShot Initiative selected 19 projects to receive a total of $17 million under the PV Research and Development Program to improve the performance, reliability, and manufacturability of existing PV technology while seeking to advance next generation solar technology development. The new research and development projects focus on both current and emerging PV technologies aimed at improving power conversion efficiency and energy output, while also enhancing service lifetime and decreasing hardware costs. These projects could significantly lower solar PV costs from SunShot’s 2020 targets to support even more widespread deployment of PV technologies across the nation. Click here to view the list of awardees.

TECHNOLOGY TO MARKET PROGRAM:  $25 MILLION FOR 21 RAPID SOLAR INNOVATION PROJECTS

To accelerate the current growth trajectory of solar energy in America, the Department is also announcing nearly $25 million for 21 new projects under SunShot’s Technology to Market Program. The funding will support the development of new tools, technologies and services for the solar industry by helping to reduce hardware costs, improve business operational efficiency, and broaden the investor pool for project development. Additionally, the projects will yield products that can leverage new, emerging technologies and assist in streamlining regulatory processes. Click here to view the list of awardees.

FUTURE FUNDING FOR PV TECHNOLOGY, TECHNOLOGY TO MARKET AND SYSTEMS INTEGRATION PROGRAMS

Later this year, the SunShot Initiative intends to make up to $65 million, subject to appropriation, in additional funding available under the PV Research and Development Program, Technology to Market Program, and its Systems Integration Program. The PV Research and Development Program is expected to make up to $25 million available in funding to improve PV module and system design, including hardware and software solutions that facilitate the rapid installation and interconnection of PV systems. The Technology to Market Program expects up to $30 million to be made available for projects that accelerate the commercialization of products and solutions that can help to drive down the cost of solar energy. Finally, SunShot will make up to $10 million available under its Systems Integration Program for projects that are focused on improving solar irradiance and power forecasts that will accelerate data integration into energy management systems used by utilities.

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