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DOE to provide nearly $170M in funding to advance solar energy technologies

As part of the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, the US Department of Energy (DOE) is making nearly $170 million for funding over three years available to support a range of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology areas. The SunShot Initiative aims to reduce the total cost of solar energy systems by about 75%—to roughly $1 per watt—before the end of the decade.

The new research and development funding will support four areas of investment, including improving the efficiency and performance of solar cells; developing new installation—or balance of systems—technologies; advancing solar energy grid integration; and researching new materials and processes for solar PV technologies.

Activities under these funding areas will help improve the performance of current and next generation PV cells, develop advanced power electronics that optimize the performance of PV installations, and reduce the costs of PV balance-of-system hardware. These include:

  • Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency (F-PACE) (DE-FOA-0000492): In a collaborative funding effort with the National Science Foundation, $39 million is available for research and development in solar device physics and PV technology to improve PV cell performance and reduce the costs of modules for grid-scale commercial applications.

  • PV Balance of Systems (DE-FOA-0000493): $60 million in funding is available for research, development, and demonstration of balance of system components. Projects may include new building-integrated photovoltaic products, new mounting and wiring technologies, and new building code language that can foster the use of innovative, low-cost hardware designs while maintaining safety and reliability.

  • Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (SEGIS)-Advanced Concepts (DE-FOA-0000479): $40 million in funding is available to develop technologies that will help increase the integration of solar energy onto the electrical grid and facilitate interactions between solar energy systems and Smart Grid technologies. This could include projects focused on improved energy storage technologies and better system functionality. SEGIS-Advanced Concepts will also support projects like high voltage systems that reduce the overall installed costs associated with balance of systems components costs for installations, and projects focused on technologies like micro-inverters that are capable of harvesting more energy from the sun.

  • PV Next Generation (DE-FOA-000387): $30 million in funding is available for early-stage applied research to demonstrate and prove new concepts in materials, processes, and device designs for solar PV component development at the laboratory scale.

More information and application requirements for each Funding Opportunity Announcement is available on the Funding Opportunity Exchange website.

Comments

SJC

GE announced the building of a thin film solar plant yesterday. It was helped by the DOE and can bring the U.S. back into the picture. 30 years ago we had 40% of the world market and now have 4%.

Jimr

"By the end of the decade". Foolish to try to predict anything nine years from now, I assume that by total cost they mean installed, since many are built for less than a dollar today.

Reel$$

The national average for installed systems is $9-12/W. So they have a long way to go to get this down.

These guys say they can install 5kW thin film on flat roof in 2.5 hours!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKsOpDSRl50&feature=player_embedded#at=19

ChicagoBob

I have often dreamed that eventually all the roofs shingles would have solor connectors and an energy storage system could be developed to eliminate much of our power consumption. Here again is another long term initiative. Maybe in 10 no 20 no its almost ready. Sad we are all still waiting.

Zhukova

The cost of manufactured solar panels is already below $1/watt. That's about 20% of the cost of a home system, the rest is mounting hardware, electrical wiring, grid-tie inverters, battery chargers. No scientific breakthroughs required there. Oh, I forgot about labor - we will need lots of immigrant installers to work for minimum wage and live twelve to an apartment.

SJC

Unisolar has had solar shingles for 20 years, they have not changed the world. When the home owner has to shell out $20,000 for a solar system or they could buy a pool, they buy the pool. The pool costs them an extra $1000 per year for chemicals and pumping and cleaning, but has more status.

HarveyD

Eventually, starting with new houses in very sunny areas, solar panels could integrated into the roof, walls, windows, doors to capture enough e-energy to for the house and 2 or 3 electrified vehicles. Of course, a large enough e-storage unit, converter and a two-way connection to the power grid will be required.

Introducing such system on a wide basis will be as difficult as the wide introduction of electrified vehicles. Resistance to change will be there.

Coal, NG, SG, Oil, Ethanol, Nuclear lobbies will fight it with all their $$$B. However, a world without those service providers may be better off.

ChrisJ

Storage!! Storage!! Storage!! Cell and panel prices are down and dropping. Inverters are getting less expensive all the time. Grid connect is the only thing that makes sense though (as far as payback time). Solar will never survive on grid connect though. Power companies will not tolerate a significant portion of electricity being supplied by grid connect solar. Oh sure, they are fine with it now when it's a quaint little aspect of the total production, and they get the PR of being green, but make it 10% or 20% and they will hate it. Low cost storage is the key, and the lead acid battery guys have failed to deliver. Their product just can't do the cycles needed to make them cost effective. Not that any other batteries are capable either, but the potential is there. Low cost reliable storage batteries are the key to solar. So why is no one in the Solar programs funding low cost Solar batteries. I guess they think the car guys will provide batteries. Of course this is ignorant, because the car batteries have a completely different set of requirements.

Vanadium Investing News

http://www.vanadiumsite.com

Im not sure if you guys know. But vanadium came out on wikileaks as the new fuel of the USAF and their new/old top secret spy plane. These vanadium filled power packs can keep a 12,000 lb aircraft in the stratosphere for over 12 hrs without being seen by radar, and the planes give off no heat signature with the use of these new vanadium redox fuel cells.

This technology is new to the average public, but have really been around for the past 8 years. The US Air Force has kept the development secret till now which tells me they have something better now. I wonder what that is?

Regardless, we have another lithium boom coming only with vanadium instead.
@WideRangeMarket

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