Earlier this week Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz said the federal government would support continued research into reducing the costs of solar further through more than $53 million in grants, which will support 40 solar powered research and development (R&D) projects. The projects are aimed at reducing the cost of solar power through technology development.
“Today, the U.S. has 15.9 gigawatts of installed solar power—enough to power more than 3.2 million average American homes,” Moniz said. However to increase the opportunities for more U.S. citizens to go solar or use solar power the prices must continue to drop. The DOE has perilously made larger investments in solar, however now that the costs have dropped, the amounts DOE is investing in future R&D is also dropping. Last year around this time it announced $60 million in R&D funding.
The projects will support R&D in next generation solar technologies, manufacturing processes as well as hardware and non-hardware soft costs of solar installation aimed at further reducing costs. “As U.S. solar installation increases and the cost of solar electricity continues to decline, solar energy is becoming an increasingly affordable clean energy option for more American families and businesses,” said Secretary Moniz. “The projects announced today will help the U.S. solar energy industry continue to grow, ensuring America can capitalize on its vast renewable energy sources, cut carbon pollution, and continue to lead in the world in clean energy innovation.”
Through the awards DOE announced more than $14 million to 10 research institutions. Those grants will support R&D aimed at improving the performance, efficiency, and durability of solar PV devices. The research will explore new high-performance materials, novel techniques to develop less costly, more efficient solar cells.
The DOE will also invest more than $14 million into the SunShot Incubator program. Those funds will support innovations at 20 small businesses aimed at reducing hardware and non-hardware costs for solar electric systems.
In addition, the DOE will support advanced manufacturing jobs with $24 million in grant funds to 10 solar manufacturers in the U.S. Those funds are targeted to help increase efficiency in solar manufacturing processes to reduce costs of photovoltaics and concentrating solar power (CSP) used to make PV and CSP technologies.Tweet