US Solar Innovation to Get a $105 Million Shot in the Arm

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Advancing solar technology innovations are to be boosted by US government backing in a drive that will lower costs and improve the nation’s electric grid.

US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said the $105 million grant will fund 70 projects to advance both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) technologies.

The early phase research will seek to improve the affordability and performances of solar technologies on the national grid.

He declared: “Investing in all of our abundant energy sources, including solar technologies, will help drive down costs and ensure the nation leads the world in energy production and innovation.”

The funding, he added, would also maintain US leadership in solar energy with early-stage technology development.

This round of funding will target four areas:

Advanced Solar Systems Integration Technologies: Funding 14 projects with up to $46 million, these will advance research on technologies that enable the seamless integration of solar energy onto the nation’s electricity grid.

By supporting advances in power electronics, solar plus storage, and PV-integrated sensor technologies, the work will help ensure a smooth transition to a secure, reliable, and resilient grid of the future.

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Research and Development: 21 projects, costing $24 million, will pursue innovative CSP concepts and technology solutions that enable the solar industry to reach the government’s 2030 levelized cost of electricity targets, including $0.05 per kilowatt-hour for systems with greater than 12 hours of onsite storage.

Photovoltaics Research and Development: Up to $27 million will help support 28 projects in researching early-stage advances in increased performance, reduced materials and processing costs, as well as improving reliability of PV cells, modules, and systems.

Improving and Expanding the Solar Industry through Workforce Initiatives: With a pool of $8.5 million, four projects will be funded to pursue innovative initiatives that prepare the solar industry for a digital future.

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