• US Department of Energy has selected 53 projects to support advance early stage solar technologies as innovative projects
  • This funding will support 15 CSP projects with $12.4 million, 31 PV projects with $27.7 million, and 7 projects for training workforce with $12.7 million
  • Among the PV projects selected, at least 7 are related to perovskites, and 3 to bifacial modules
  • Most of the selected PV projects are from leading universities in the country, but some industry players also appear in the list as Amtech Systems, Cypress Creek Renewables and DNV GL

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office will provide $53 million to 53 ‘innovative research projects’ to help advance early-stage solar.

While concentrating solar power takes up $12.4 million for 15 research projects, PV technology has lapped up $27.7 million for 31 projects to advance PV materials like perovskites. Another $12.7 million has been set aside for 7 projects to improve and expand the solar industry by training the workforce.

DOE has selected all the 53 projects as part of its Solar Energy technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 (SETO FY2018) funding program to address affordability, flexibility and performance of solar technologies on the grid. It wants the projects to help explore lower solar electricity costs and support a growing workforce.

Under its SunShot Initiative, DOE aims to have $0.05 per kWh cost target for residential PV, $0.04 per kWh for commercial PV and $0.03 per kWh cost target for utility-scale PV by 2030. In September 2017, it achieved $0.06 per kWh average utility scale solar price ahead of its deadline (see SunShot Initiative Achieves 6 ct/kWh Goal).

The selected 53 projects are spread across 21 states along with the District of Columbia, and include PV research to increase grid resiliency in Puerto Rico, said the department.

Most of the selected projects in the PV category are lead by educational institutes such  as University of Washington, Arizona State University, Colorado State University, MIT, among others. Industry players include Amtech Systems for its project on field-effect passivation by desired charge injection into SiNx Passivation in Crystalline-Silicon Solar Cells and Cypress Creek Renewables for its research on bifacial modules to achieve an LCOE of $0.03 per kWh through regional optimization of the electrical architecture.

DNV GL has also secured a place in the selected projects for its research on bifacial PV module energy modelling validation study. At least 7 projects are related to perovskite material and 3 to bifacial modules.

The list of selected projects in the PV category is available on the website of DOE. It does mention that award amounts are subject to final negotiation.