DOE keeps 2020 cost-competitive solar target in its crosshairs with new $170M offering | The American Ceramic Society

DOE keeps 2020 cost-competitive solar target in its crosshairs with new $170M offering

Credit: NREL

Last week the DOE announced $110 million in photovoltaic grants. Most recently, the agency announced it wants to invest another $170 million in specific advanced solar technologies and balance-of-systems projects, and is looking for proposals.

DOE wants to fund projects in these four areas:

  • Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency ($39 million): DOE says the F-PACE will be a “collaborative funding effort with the National Science Foundation (Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems Division) “to target 1) solar device physics; 2) PV cell performance improvements; and 3) reduce the grid-scale modules.
  • PV Balance of Systems ($60 million): The BOS-X funding is for “extreme balance of system hardware cost reductions” RD&D, and DOE specifically mentions building-integrated photovoltaic products, new mounting and wiring technologies, and new building code language (e.g., PV module wind loads) that would enable the safe use of these new components.
  • Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems-Advanced Concepts ($40 million): This pool of funding is earmarked for novel grid integration technologies, including facilitating interactions between solar Smart Grid concepts. SEGIS is actually an existing DOE project, and the agency wants SEGIS-Advanced Concepts monies to go to energy storage technologies. The agency also specifically underlines the need for breakthroughs in 1) economies of scale; 2) advanced components; 3) reliability; 4) smart grid integration; and 5) understanding of system implications.
  • Next Generation Photovotaics II ($30 million): DOE says the Next-Gen PV II funding is for transformational “early-stage applied research to demonstrate and prove new concepts in materials, processes and device designs.” The solicitation goes on to say that the agency is looking for work done “in materials, processes, and device designs to feed into component development at the laboratory scale, with subsequent component integration, engineering scale-up, and eventual commercial production.”

The agency frames this new funding parcel as part of its SunShot project to achieve a $1-per- PV-watt goal by 2020. In a news release, DOE says that the $170 million “will help reduce the cost for utility-scale solar energy installations, increase American economic competitiveness and help the U.S. lead the world in the global market for solar photovoltaics.”

SunShot is a DOE-wide initiative that aims to coordinate and maximize the results of investments from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, ARPA-E and the Office of Science.

Interested in applying for funding under one of the four areas of focus? More information and application requirements for each is available here.