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DOE awards $145 million for solar technology development

The Department of Energy announced over $145 million in awards for advancement of solar technologies on September 1.


Steven Chu Photo Credit:

The funds will go to 69 projects in 24 states for research and development into greater efficiency and lower-cost photovoltaic technologies. These awards are part of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s SunShot Initiative.

The SunShot Initiative has the objective of making solar energy price competitive with other energy forms by 2020, and to spur U.S. leadership in the worldwide PV market. Specifically, the initiative aims to reduce the cost of solar energy systems by 75% without long-term government subsidies.

“America is in a world race to produce cost-competitive renewable energy that can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, create manufacturing jobs across the nation, and improve our energy security,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Chu said these projects would “spur American innovation to help reduce the costs of clean, renewable solar energy and re-establish U.S. global leadership in this fast growing industry.”

The projects awarded funds span a wide range of areas, including:

  1. balance of system cost reductions to develop new system components, which currently account for more than 40 percent of total installed cost.

  2. cell efficiency to bridge the gap between the efficiency achieved in the lab and the efficiency of cells in solar panels available to consumers.

  3. grid integration improving system components for more efficient two-way flows to the grid.

  4. advanced photovoltaics research into next generation PV technology.

  5. reducing market barriers by developing software and databases to streamline building codes, zoning laws, permitting rules, and business processes for system installation.

This announcement comes a day after Solyndra, a PV firm that received a $353 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, suspended operations.

Source: United States Department of Energy.


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