Now that the price of solar power is well on its way to reaching the SunShot Initiative’s goal of falling to 6 cents per kilowatt hour the Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting more innovative solar technologies. The initiative is investing $11 million into emerging solar technologies through its Small Innovative Projects in Solar (SIPS) in the hopes of further reducing the cost of photovoltaics and concentrated solar power (CSP).
Originally the SunShot Initiative was intent on helping to reduce the cost of solar power to 6 cents per kilowatt hour by 2020. Since it looks like that target will be met now the initiative is planning to reduce the cost of solar power to 2 to 3 cents per kilowatt hour by 2030.
With SIPS the DOE is supporting 16 new projects that will push the limits of PV and CSP technologies. The 10 early stage PV projects will receive nearly $2 million to demonstrate novel and emerging photovoltaic research. The single-year projects, like investigating chalcogenide perovskite properties as a potential material for low-cost, thin-film solar panels, are designed to allow researchers to test their concepts and to see if they’re worthy of moving them into future stages for future investments.
The six CSP projects are focused on collector technologies to make performance improvements and cost reductions through the Concentrating Optics for Lower Levelized Energy Costs (COLLECTS) program. “Solar collectors currently account for up to 40 percent of the total plant cost and are the largest capital cost component of a CSP plant,” according to DOE. “These six CSP awards through SunShot's COLLECTS program total nearly $9 million dedicated to the design and manufacture of lower-cost solar collectors, which could in turn reduce the overall cost of a CSP power plant.”
The SIPS program is among the SunShot Initiative’s post 2020 goals to continue to reduce costs. It is partnering with private industry, universities, and national laboratories to continue to move renewable energy forward.Tweet