September 14, 2016 the U.S. Energy Department announced up to $107 million in new projects and planned funding in order to support America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation through solar technology. Under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) SunShot Initiative, the Department will fund 40 projects with a total of $42 million to improve PV performance, reliability, manufacturability and to enable greater market penetration for solar technologies. In addition to the new projects announced today, the Department intends to make up to $65 million, subject to appropriation, in additional funding available for upcoming solar research and development projects to continue driving down the cost of solar energy and accelerating widespread national deployment.
One of SunShot’s goals is to drive down the levelized cost of utility-scale solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour without incentives by 2020.
“Since 2008, the commitments made by the Department of Energy have contributed to solar PV’s deployment growing 30-fold and overall costs falling more than 60 percent,” said Under Secretary for Science and Energy Franklin Orr. “Continuing to invest in solar technologies will help to drive down costs even further for American consumers and ensure that the U.S. maintains global leadership in this century’s clean energy economy.”
PV Research and Development Program: $17 Million for 19 Advanced PV Technologies
SunShot selected 19 projects to receive a total of $17 million under the PV Research and Development Program to improve the performance, reliability and manufacturability of existing PV technology while seeking to advance next generation solar technology development. The new research and development projects focus on both current and emerging PV technologies aimed at improving power conversion efficiency and energy output, while also enhancing service lifetime and decreasing hardware costs. These projects could significantly lower solar PV costs from SunShot’s 2020 targets to support even more widespread deployment of PV technologies across the nation. Click here to view the list of awardees.
Two projects are from neighboring Delaware. Congratulations U-Del:
Project Name: Rapid Patterning and Advanced Device Structures for Low Cost Manufacturable Crystalline Silicon IBC Cells
Location: Newark, DE
SunShot Award Amount: $1,124,491
Awardee Cost Share: $125,084
Principal Investigator: Steven Hegedus
Project Summary: This project is developing a new method for the manufacturing of interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar cells with metal contacts on the backside of the wafer, which allows for greater light harvesting on the front surface due to the absence of grid shadowing. The new process will use direct laser patterning of the metal electrodes to isolate the positive and negative contacts, as well as laser firing of dopants to create localized contacts regions between the metal and the silicon wafer. The result will be a lower cost silicon manufacturing process and device structure that will lead to an IBC cell with 25% efficiency.
Project Name: Improved Performance and Reliability of PV Modules using the Reaction of Metal Precursors
Location: Newark, DE
SunShot Award Amount: $800,000
Awardee Cost Share: $88,889
Principal Investigator: William Shafarman
Project Summary: This project is working to improve the performance and reliability of thin-film copper indium gallium sulfide selenide (CIGSS) cells. The team is developing innovative approaches to improve the deposition and device fabrication to provide a pathway to significant reduction in LCOE. By focusing on processes and materials with low manufacturing cost and that are already used in commercial production, the project expects to directly impact the market and advance CIGSS technology toward and beyond the SunShot 2020 goal of $0.06 per kilowatt hour LCOE.
Technology to Market Program: $25 Million for 21 Rapid Solar Innovation Projects
To accelerate the current growth trajectory of solar energy in America, the Department is also announcing nearly $25 million for 21 new projects under SunShot’s Technology to Market Program. The funding will support the development of new tools, technologies and services for the solar industry by helping to reduce hardware costs, improve business operational efficiency and broaden the investor pool for project development. Additionally, the projects will yield products that can leverage new, emerging technologies and assist in streamlining regulatory processes. Click here to view the list of awardees. One project is from neighboring New Jersey.
Location: Summit, NJ
SunShot Award Amount: $700,000
Awardee Cost Share: $700,000
Project Summary: This project enables large utilities to conduct rapid forecasting and planning of distributed energy resource (DER) deployment combinations through the use of hybrid distribution/transmission models. The rapid addition of distributed generation creates concerns among utilities and regional transmission operators about impacts on transmission. The development of transmission impact functionality will drive down interconnection times of large commercial and small utility projects, which are known for their lengthy queues.
Future Funding for PV Technology, Technology to Market and Systems Integration Programs
Later this year, SunShot intends to make up to $65 million, subject to appropriation, in additional funding available under the PV Research and Development Program, Technology to Market Program and its Systems Integration Program. The PV Research and Development Program is expected to make up to $25 million available in funding to improve PV module and system design, including hardware and software solutions that facilitate the rapid installation and interconnection of PV systems. The Technology to Market Program expects up to $30 million to be made available for projects that accelerate the commercialization of products and solutions that can help to drive down the cost of solar energy. Finally, SunShot will make up to $10 million available under its Systems Integration Program for projects that are focused on improving solar irradiance and power forecasts that will accelerate data integration into energy management systems used by utilities.
Desire more specific assistance regarding CHP, renewable energy projects, energy law, or real estate law, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.