The Department of Energy announced a total of $105 million to support early stage solar technologies and support jobs in the solar industry through the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). The funding will support photovoltaic and concentrating solar power research and development, workforce initiatives and integrating solar into the grid.
“American ingenuity is the engine of our energy economy,” said Energy Secretary Rick Perry. “Investing in all of our abundant energy sources, including solar technologies, will help to drive down costs and ensure that the nation leads the world in energy production and innovation.”
It’s the single biggest investment in solar power technology that the Energy Department has made since Donald Trump became President. Although the department has announced funding for certain solar technologies in the interim.
"Secretary Perry's announcement today is yet another positive step in strengthening this important public-private relationship between the federal government and the American solar industry,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, the President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We look forward to fulfilling this opportunity with innovative solar projects that drive America's energy economy to a cleaner, more affordable and reliable future."
The department said the funding will support about 70 projects with the majority of funding, up to $46 million supporting about 14 solar grid integration projects. That will include advancing solar power systems with energy storage integrated sensor technologies for photovoltaics and more. It’s previously offered more funding for solar technologies.
The department will fund roughly 28 solar panel research and development projects with up to $27 million. The projects will include early-stage research aiming to increase performance, while reducing materials and processing costs. It aims to lower the leveled cost of electricity 3 cents per kilowatt hour from utility-scale systems by 2030. That’s half the cost of solar utility scale solar today.
In the concentrating solar realm the department will invest up to up to $24 million in about 21 projects. That aims to bring down the cost of concentrating solar to 5 cants per kilowatt-hour for systems with 12 or more hours of energy storage.
The department also will invest up to $8.5 million in solar workforce initiatives. The department will invest in projects that prepare the solar workforce for an increasingly digital future and aim to increase the number of veterans with solar jobs.
"It is critically important that the United States maintain its global leadership in the development of advanced, high-performing solar technologies for both the photovoltaic and concentrating solar power industries. Prioritizing research and workforce development for the hundreds of thousands of Americans that solar employs is vital,” Ross said.Tweet