U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made a selections for $130 million in new projects to advance solar technologies.
Through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, DOE will fund 67 research projects across 30 states that reduce the cost of solar, increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, and improve the reliability of the nation’s electric grid.
“Ensuring low-cost, reliable electricity for all Americans while minimizing risk is a top priority for this department. That means creating domestic manufacturing opportunities and increasing the power system’s resilience in case of disruptions. Projects that advance solar technologies are essential to achieving these goals.”U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette.
Along with advancing research in photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), and systems integration, the projects in DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2020 Funding Program include new areas of research in artificial intelligence (AI), hybrid plants, and solar with agriculture. The selections include:
- PV Hardware Research – $14 million for eight projects that aim to make PV systems last longer and increase the reliability of solar systems made of silicon solar cells, as well as new technologies like thin-film and bifacial solar cells.
- Integrated Thermal Energy STorage and Brayton Cycle Equipment Demonstration (Integrated TESTBED) – $39 million will be awarded to Heliogen, Inc., which will build and operate a supercritical carbon dioxide power cycle that will serve as a test site to accelerate the commercialization of low-cost CSP plants.
- Systems Integration – $34 million for 10 research projects that will develop resilient community microgrids to maintain power during and restore power after man-made or natural disasters, improve cybersecurity for PV inverters and power systems, and develop advanced hybrid plants that operate collaboratively with other resources for improved reliability and resilience.
- AI Applications in Solar Energy with Emphasis on Machine Learning – $7.3 million for 10 projects that use AI and machine learning to optimize operations and solar forecasting, improve situational awareness on the distribution system and behind the meter, and enable the integration of more solar generation.
- Innovations in Manufacturing: Hardware Incubator – $14 million for 10 research projects that will advance innovative prototypes to a pre-commercial stage, including products that support U.S. solar manufacturing and reduce the cost of installation.
- Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies 3 – $9.7 million for six research projects that will examine how information gets to stakeholders to enable better decision-making about solar and combining solar with energy efficiency, energy storage, and electric vehicles.
- Solar and Agriculture: System Design, Value Frameworks, and Impacts Analysis – $7 million for four projects that will advance the technologies, research, and practices necessary for farmers, ranchers, and others to co-locate solar and agriculture.
- Small Innovative Projects in Solar (SIPS): PV and CSP – $5 million for 18 projects that advance innovative, novel ideas in PV and CSP that can produce significant results in one year.