At the beginning of February, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced $125.5 million in new funding to advance solar technology research. The investment will build new opportunities for renewable power, transportation, energy efficiency, and manufacturing.
The DOE will continue to research and develop solar technologies through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Why? To reduce the cost of solar, improve the reliability of the grid, and increase manufacturing competitiveness throughout the country as well as the competitive landscape of businesses.
Over the last decade, solar has grown immensely. In the 1950s, a solar panel cost around $300 per watt. The price dropped to $20 per watt in the 1970s. Last year, you could find a panel for as little as $0.50 per watt. The DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2020 Funding Program (SETO 2020) plans to help continue to reduce the costs of solar.
The early-stage research and development supported by the SETO include:
Concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP)
System integration - Making solar more affordable to the masses and increase the performance and value of solar technologies on the grid
The DOE has laid out the key emerging challenges that their projects will expect to attack across the solar industry. Here are the following tasks they’re going to tackle:
Enabling solar and storage
Enhancing cybersecurity protections
Developing solar-powered microgrids
Siting solar with agriculture
The $125.5 million in funding will help the solar industry reach new heights through the upcoming years. If you’re interested in learning more about this funding opportunity, here’s a link to their upcoming webinars.