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DoE SunShot Awards Top $145M for Solar Tech

Photonics.com
Sep 2011
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2011 — As part of its SunShot Initiative, the Department of Energy (DoE) has awarded more than $145 million for advanced solar technology projects. The program, whose goal is to reduce cost and increase efficiency of solar energy systems by 75 percent by 2020, is composed of 69 projects in 24 states. The DoE said some of the investments also will support efforts that will shorten the overall time line from prototype to production and streamline building codes, zoning laws, permitting rules and business processes for installing solar energy systems.

SunShot Initiative projects are focused on six general categories:

     • Extreme Balance-of-System Hardware Cost Reductions: research and development of new balance-of-system hardware, or solar system components including power inverters and mounting racks (but not solar panels or cells). For example, Calif.-based Amonix will develop new dual-axis tracking systems specifically for concentrating PV systems.

     • Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency: a joint program combining both the DoE and the National Science Foundation that will aim to eliminate the significant gap between the efficiencies of prototype cells achieved in the laboratory and the efficiencies of cells produced on manufacturing lines.

     • Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems — Advanced Concepts: to develop electronics and build smarter, more interactive systems and components so that solar energy can be integrated into the grid at higher levels.

     • Transformational PV Science and Technology — Next Generation Photovoltaics II: to fund applied research into technologies that greatly increase efficiency, lower costs, create secure and sustainable supply chains and perform more reliably than the current PV technologies.

     • Reducing Market Barriers and Non-Hardware Balance-of-System Costs: will provide funding to create tools and will develop methods to reduce the cost of nonhardware components for installed solar energy systems.

     • And, the SunShot Incubator program, which is an expansion of the DoE's PV Technology Incubator program, will fund two tiers of transformational projects in California and Vermont. The first accelerates development of new technologies from concept to commercial viability. The second level of funding supports efforts that shorten the overall time line from laboratory-scale development to pilot-line manufacture. For example, Halotechnics in Emeryville, Calif., will develop a thermal energy storage system operating at 700 °C using a new high-stability, low-melting-point molten salt as the heat transfer and thermal storage material for concentrating solar power applications.

The SunShot Incubator program, launched in 2007, has funded $60 million in projects that have been leveraged into $1.3 billion in private investment.

For more information, visit: www.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot


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