U.S. Department of Energy

Solar Incubator Program

Photo of two men talking in front of a poster display.

William Parish from Solar Mosaic, one of nine solar startups chosen to participate in SunShot Incubator 6, discusses his company's project with former Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the SunShot Grand Challenge Summit in Denver, Colorado. Photo by John De La Rosa

Fifty-eight startup companies have received a total of 71 awards to participate in the SunShot Incubator program since it began in 2007. These DOE solar projects are accelerating technological innovation for:

  • Photovoltaic (PV) technologies
  • Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies
  • Power electronics
  • Balance-of-system (BOS) hardware
  • Balance-of-system non-hardware (Soft Costs).

The Incubator program provides early-stage assistance to help startup companies cross technological barriers to commercialization while encouraging private sector investment. Since the program was launched in 2007, $104 million in government funds has leveraged more than $1.7 billion in venture capital and private equity investment, demonstrating a ratio of nearly $18 in subsequent private sector support for every $1 of federal support.

The SunShot Incubator Virtual Showcase, which took place on January 7, 2014, features one-minute presentations from current Incubator awardees. Text version.


The SunShot Incubator program aims to shorten the time between laboratory-scale proof of concept and prototype development and accelerate the process for companies to transition pre-commercial prototypes through the pilot stage into full-scale manufacture. Most projects are cooperative agreements that last from twelve to eighteen months with payment made upon completion and verification of aggressive project deliverables.


The SunShot Incubator program uses a five-tiered approach to accomplish its objectives.

For Hardware Development

  • Tier 0 is to accelerate the transition from a proof-of-concept of all critical components to an early stage functional prototype
  • Tier 1 is to accelerate the transition of early stage functional prototype to manufacturing and commercially relevant prototype made in the lab
  • Tier 2 is to develop the manufacturing processes and equipment to move from fully developed lab prototype to pilot-scale production.

For Non Hardware Development

  • Tier 1S is to accelerate the transition of proof-of-concept or business plan to alpha capability and early customer trials.
  • Tier 2S is to transition alpha capability through beta launch and full commercialization.

The Incubator program was originally created to support innovative solar startups working to develop and launch transformative PV technologies. Over the past five years, the program has evolved to take an all-inclusive approach to significantly lower the total installed cost of solar energy systems. Visit the Financial Opportunities page for more information about future funding rounds.


Current Projects

Incubator 8 (2013)

  • Applied Novel Devices, Inc. (Austin, Texas)
  • Brittmore Group, LLC (San Jose, California)
  • Clean Power Research (Kirkland, Washington)
  • Demeter Power Group (West Palm Beach, Florida)
  • EnergySage (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • Folsom Labs (San Francisco, California)
  • Geostellar (Martinsburg, West Virginia)
  • Infinite Invention LLC (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • kWh Analytics (Oakland, California)
  • Renewable Power Conversion (San Luis Obispo, California)
  • Silicon Solar Solutions (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
  • Simply Civic (Parker, Colorado)
  • SineWatts (Palo Alto, California)
  • SMASHsolar (El Cerrito, California)
  • Solar Census, LLC (Walnut Creek, California)
  • Sun Number (Deephaven, Minnesota)
  • Sunrun Inc. (San Francisco, California)

Incubator 7 (2012)

  • AmberWave, Inc. (Salem, New Hampshire)
  • Enki Technology (San Jose, California)
  • Infinite Invention, LLC (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Princeton Power Systems (Lawrenceville, New Jersey)
  • Qado Energy, Inc. (Summit, New Jersey)
  • QBotix, Inc. (Menlo Park, California)
  • REhnu, Inc. (Tucson, Arizona)
  • Seeo (Hayward, California)
  • Solaflect Energy (Norwich, Vermont)
  • Stion (San Jose, California)

Incubator 6 (2012)

  • Clean Power Finance (San Francisco, California)—Tier 2
  • concept3D (Boulder, Colorado)
  • Solar Mosaic (Berkeley, California)
  • Tigo Energy (Los Gatos, California)

Past Projects

Incubator 7 (2012)

  • Bandgap Engineering (Woburn, Massachusetts)

Incubator 6 (2012)

  • Clean Energy Experts (Manhattan Beach, California)
  • Clean Power Finance (San Francisco, California)—Tier 1
  • EnergySage (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • Genability (San Francisco, California)
  • Simply Civic (Parker, Colorado)
  • Sun Number (Deephaven, Minnesota)

Incubator 5 (2011)

  • Halotechnics (Emeryville, California)
  • Renewable Power Conversion (San Luis Obispo, California)
  • Solaflect Energy (Norwich, Vermont)
  • Tigo Energy (Los Gatos, California)

Incubator 4 (2010)

  • Caelux (Pasadena, California)
  • Crystal Solar (Santa Clara, California)
  • Solexant (San Jose, California)
  • Stion (San Jose, California)

Incubator 3 (2009)

  • Alta Devices, Inc. (Santa Clara, California)
  • Semprius, Inc. (Durham, North Carolina)
  • Solar Junction (San Jose, California)
  • Tetra Sun (Saratoga, California)

Pre-Incubator (2009)

  • 1366 Technologies, Inc. (Lexington, Massachusetts)
  • Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (Littleton, Colorado)
  • Banyan Energy, Inc. (Kensington, California)
  • Crystal Solar, Inc. (Santa Clara, California)
  • EPIR Technologies, Inc. (Bolingbrook, Illinois)
  • Lightwave Power, Inc. (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • Luna Innovations, Inc. (Danville, Virginia)
  • MicroLink Devices (Niles, Illinois)
  • SpectraWatt, Inc. (Hillsboro, Oregon)
  • TiSol, LLC (Pasadena, California)
  • Vanguard Solar, Inc. (Sudbury, Massachusetts)

Incubator 2 (2008)

  • 1366 Technologies (Lexington, Massachusetts)
  • Innovalight (Sunnyvale, California)
  • Skyline Solar (Mountain View, California)
  • Solasta (Newton, Massachusetts)
  • Solexel (Milpitas, California)
  • Spire Semiconductor (Hudson, New Hampshire)

Incubator 1 (2007)

  • Abound Solar (Fort Collins, Colorado)
  • Blue Square Energy (North East, Maryland)
  • CaliSolar (Menlo Park, California)
  • Enfocus Engineering (Sunnyvale, California)
  • MicroLink Devices, Inc. (Niles, Illinois)
  • Plextronics (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • PrimeStar Solar (Golden, Colorado)
  • Solaria (Fremont, California)
  • SolFocus (Palo Alto, California)
  • SoloPower (Milpitas, California)