- The US has opened a funding round to award $56 million to support domestic solar PV manufacturing efforts
- Among technologies it aims to support include CdTe which does not use silicon, and commercializing perovskite solar for larger areas
- Focus will also be on reuse and recycle of solar technologies, all with a view to reduce costs and supply chain vulnerabilities
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a $56 million funding opportunity for commercializing silicon free thin-film PV technology, perovskites and for projects that promote reuse and recycling of solar technologies, as the country seeks to develop local and clean energy supply chain.
“The new programs announced today are designed to drive innovation in solar technology and manufacturing, supporting opportunities for the US to expand production of thin-film modules, which do not rely on foreign-dominated supply chains, as well as supporting newer technologies like perovskite solar cells,” stated the department.
The US aims to have a 100% decarbonized grid by 2035 and considers solar power the ‘cheapest’ form of new electricity supply as key to achieving the target.
Of the $56 million, the DOE has reserved $29 million for FY2022 Photovoltaics (PV) Research and Development funding opportunity. This funding amount includes $10 million from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of the current administration to be deployed to spur innovation in solar manufacturing and recycling.
It will be awarded to projects that reduce costs and supply chain vulnerabilities, and further develop durable and recyclable solar technologies under topic 1 where 6 to 10 projects stand to win funding worth $1.0 million to $1.5 million.
To advance durable, high efficiency perovskite solar technology with larger device areas to commercialization, the DOE will select 1 or 2 projects to award $9 million to $15 million under topic 2.
Last date to submit a Letter of Intent for PV R&D funding is August 3, 2022, for concept paper submission it is August 12, 2022 while final applications can be sent in by October 15, 2022.
The remaining $27 million will be devoted to FY22 Solar Manufacturing Incubator for projects to accelerate commercialization of innovative product ideas that boost American solar manufacturing. Specifically, it is interested in innovative technologies as use of CdTe, agrivoltaics, building integrated PV (BIPV), floating solar, PV building materials, perovskites and next generation power electronics based on silicon carbide and/or planar magnetics under topic 1.
It will also support scaling of affordable solar and facilitate secure, reliable integration of solar electricity into the national grid. Round 6 to 17 projects can win funding amount ranging between $500,000 and $10 million.
Under topic 2 of the $27 million funding, the goal is to conduct pilot-scale testing and demonstration of products or solutions that can substantively increase the domestic manufacturing capacity of CdTe photovoltaics. Successful applicants for this topic will be established companies or startups incorporated in the US with an existing technology using CdTe whose technical functionalities have already been fully demonstrated and verified on a small scale. The leading commercially established CdTe technology PV manufacturer in the US currently is First Solar.
A Letter of Intent for Solar Manufacturing Incubator funding can be submitted by September 16, 2022 and full applications will be accepted till October 3, 2022.
“This administration wants to seize U.S. leadership in solar energy, from manufacturing to recycling, and that means making the right investments to ensure these technologies are made right here at home,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.