U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Technologies Program – News

Energy Department Announces $19 Million to Drive Down Solar Soft Costs, Increase Hardware Efficiency

November 20, 2013

In support of the Obama Administration's effort to advance our clean energy economy and support American innovation, the Energy Department announced $19 million to reduce both hardware and non-hardware costs of solar and to drive greater solar energy deployment in the United States. This funding builds on the Energy Department's broader SunShot Initiative investments that are driving down the cost of solar and making solar affordable for more American families and companies. Since the beginning of 2010, the price of a solar electric system has dropped by more than 70%.

Through the ninth round of the highly successful SunShot Incubator program, the Department is making $10 million available to support and accelerate cutting-edge advancements in solar energy hardware, reductions in soft costs, such as permitting and installation, and the development of pilot manufacturing processes.

The SunShot Incubator 9 funding opportunity announcement builds on the Department's record of successful partnerships with small business, national laboratories, and academia by providing early-stage assistance to help small business cross technological barriers to commercialization and spurring private sector investment. Tetrasun, a photovoltaic (PV) cell startup and recipient of 2010 Incubator funding for its transformational low-cost solar cell technology, was acquired in April by First Solar and received a 2013 R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine for its innovations. In addition, numerous other solar energy businesses, including Mosaic, Genability, and Clean Energy Experts, have leveraged Energy Department investments to move their early-stage energy innovations to the marketplaceā€”generating private sector investments, creating jobs, and growing the U.S. solar industry.

The Department is also announcing $9 million for the Next Generation Photovoltaics III program that will push the limits of PV efficiency, while reducing costs, improving reliability, and creating more secure and sustainable supply chains.

The funding will advance foundational research projects, driving technological innovations and planting the seeds for breakthroughs that could lead to mature technologies. Since 2011, eight SunShot Initiative partners have set more than 15 world records for solar cell efficiency.

Applications are now being accepted for both SunShot Incubator 9 and Next Generation Photovoltaic Technologies III funding opportunities. For more information, application requirements, and deadlines, please visit the Funding Opportunity Exchange website.