Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced selections for $128 million in new projects to advance solar technologies. Through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, DOE will fund 75 innovative research projects that will lower solar electricity costs, while working to boost solar manufacturing, reduce red tape, and make solar systems more resilient to cyberattacks.
“It is undeniable that this Administration has proven its dedication to an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy. In the last three years, we have doubled our solar capacity,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “At DOE, we’re working to ensure that solar is more affordable for every American by reducing regulatory burdens and increasing the security and resiliency of our solar energy supply.”
These selections will advance research and development in photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), soft costs reduction, innovations in manufacturing, and systems integration. The projects announced today span 22 states. Selections are in the following areas:
- Photovoltaics Research and Development: $23.6 million for 21 projects that aim to reduce the cost of solar photovoltaics by half, helping to provide more affordable electricity for U.S. consumers and businesses. To achieve these deep cost reductions, the PV projects will focus on increasing performance, reducing material and manufacturing costs, and improving the reliability of PV cells, modules, and systems.
- Concentrating Solar Power Research and Development: $30 million for 13 research projects that enable CSP to provide power at any time and in any season, and that work to achieve the 2030 DOE cost target of $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for CSP-generated electricity with at least 12 hours of thermal energy storage. This research includes new materials and technologies that significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing, enable new energy storage technologies, and develop solutions that enable a solar field to operate autonomously without any human input.
- Balance of Systems Soft Cost Reduction: $17.6 million for 19 research projects that work to reduce the costs associated with the non-hardware components of a solar system. These projects help reduce the red tape associated with installing solar and solar-plus-storage systems, since regulatory and financing burdens lead to higher costs for both developers and consumers.
- Innovations in Manufacturing: Hardware Incubator: $6.8 million for 7 research projects from innovative companies with early-stage product ideas that can lower solar costs and rapidly achieve commercialization, with an emphasis on projects that contribute to a strong U.S. solar manufacturing sector.
- Advanced Solar Systems Integration Technologies: $50 million for 15 research projects that improve the ability of grid operators to integrate increasing amounts of solar generation onto the grid in a cost-effective, secure, resilient, and reliable manner. These projects also support development of technology solutions that enhance the visibility and control of PV inverters and sensors, while improving the security of those devices from cyberattack.