As part of the SunShot Initiative the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $46.2 million to 48 early stage solar technology projects designed to bring the cost of solar to 3 cents per kilowatt hour by 2030. The research is expected to leverage an additional $65 million of funding from public and private investors through cooperative agreements.
The SunShot Initiative funding was allocated to awardees through the Photovoltaics Research and Development 2: Modules and Systems (PVRD2) and the Technology to Market 3 (T2M3) programs. PVRD2 funding allocated $20.5 million across 28 projects, to research technology that increases the rate of solar installation, produces more efficient module designs and improves manufacturing solar products. The 20 T2M3 awardees received a total of $27.7 million to research and develop innovative solar energy system cost structures to speed growth of the solar industry.
“The SunShot Initiative is a proven driver of solar energy innovation,” SunShot Initiative Director Charlie Gay said. “These projects ensure there’s a pipeline of knowledge, human resources, transformative technology solutions, and research to support the industry.”
Nearly 80 percent of the projects awarded through the PVRD2 program are universities, which include Arizona State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Colorado School of Mines. Colorado State University, awarded funding for two projects totaling $1.29 million, will conduct research focused on creating encapsulate materials to increase the durability and efficiency of thin film photovoltaic modules. University research has been a consistent source of cutting-edge, scalable solutions for the solar industry.
T2M3 funding went to for-profit solar firms from across the US. Each company will develop products and methods to increase solar system value, improve business model efficiency and expand investor financing for scalable solar project development. When applied to the solar sector outside the lab, the awardees’ research will increase the solar sector’s workforce and solar manufacturing in the US. For instance, Ominidian, awarded nearly $800,000, will develop an automated operations and maintenance platform to help evaluate asset performance for residential solar projects.Tweet