Energy Department Awards $53 Million For Solar R&D Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced selections for up to $53 million in funding for projects to advance early-stage solar technologies.

Through its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, the DOE will fund 53 research projects aimed at lowering solar electricity costs and supporting a growing solar workforce.

The projects – focused on both photovoltaics and concentrating solar power (CSP) – span 21 states plus the District of Columbia and also include PV research to increase grid resiliency in Puerto Rico. Selections are in the following areas:

  • Photovoltaics Research and Development: $27.7 million for 31 projects that will support early-stage research to advance new PV materials, such as perovskites.
  • Concentrating Solar Power Research and Development: $12.4 million for 15 research projects that will advance the high-temperature components of CSP systems, such as heat exchangers. These projects will develop materials and designs for collectors, power cycles and thermal transport systems that can withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees C while being corrosion-resistant.
  • Improving and Expanding the Solar Industry through Workforce Initiatives: $12.7 million for seven projects that will pursue initiatives to grow and train the solar workforce. This includes programs to prepare veterans and interested transitioning military personnel to join the solar workforce, building on the DOE’s Solar Ready Vets pilot program.

“Innovation is key to solar’s continued growth in our nation’s energy portfolio. It increases our energy diversity and reinforces our ‘all of the above’ energy strategy,” says Rick Perry, DOE secretary. “Developing new skills through workforce training is critical to expanding job opportunities in the renewable sector, which is why we are following through on our program to reach out to military veterans with new projects that will target this committed workforce.”

More on the projects can be found here. Award amounts are subject to final negotiation.

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