The Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption, aims to make solar energy a low cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners.
SunShot has three new funding opportunities with approaching deadlines:
- The SunShot Technology to Market 3 funding opportunity has $30 million available for projects that accelerate the commercialization of products and solutions that can help to drive down the cost of solar energy. Concept papers are due December 12.
- The Photovoltaic research and Development 2: Modules and Systems funding opportunity has $25 million available for projects to improve PV module and system design, including hardware and software solutions that facilitate the rapid installation and interconnection of PV systems. Concept papers are due December 14.
- The Solar Forecasting 2 funding opportunity has $10 million available for projects focused on improving solar irradiance and power forecasts used by utilities. Concept papers are due December 30.
- The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer funding opportunity has four new solar energy topics that encourage small businesses to conduct research and technology development with the potential for future commercialization. The 2017 Phase 1, Release 2 solar topics include concentrating solar power, photovoltaic performance, and energy storage. Applications are due February 17.
SunShot also offers fellowships and postdoctoral research awards providing opportunities for scientists, engineers, and researchers to lead and improve projects to meet the goals of the intiative. All fellows are assigned to policy-related projects and mentored by senior Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) staff. Learn more here.
About the Initiative
When the initiative launched in 2011, it set a goal to lower the cost of solar electricity in order to achieve parity with conventional electricity sources by 2020. As the initiative rapidly approaches that utility-scale goal, it is now increasing its focus on the next decade’s goals, including announcing $65 million in new funding opportunities.
SunShot has announced a target to cut the cost of solar-generated electricity by an additional 50% between 2020 and 2030. If achieved, at $0.03 per kilowatt-hour, electricity from utility-scale solar would be among the least expensive options for new power generation and below the cost of most fossil fuel powered generators. Other goals include working to advance grid integration solutions and addressing market barriers to solar adoption.
The initiative already supports a broad Technology to Market portfolio funding innovative solar companies to rapidly develop and commercialize new solar technologies. Examples of projects making an impact include DeMeter: Setting the PACE for Commercial Solar Growth, Sun Number: Partnership with Zillow Brings Solar Potential Scores to Millions of Americans and SunPower: Drones Help Solar Design Take Flight.