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DOE to back early-stage solar research with USD 130m

Solar module. Author: Oregon Department of Transportation. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

March 27 (Renewables Now) - The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to USD 130 million (EUR 115.5m) in grants for research focused on advancing early-stage solar technologies, it announced on Tuesday.

Research projects will be able to apply in five separate categories, with the largest portion of the financing, USD 44 million, to be awarded to research on options for grid operators to integrate rising amounts of solar power into the grid “in a cost-effective, secure, resilient, and reliable manner.” Apart from advanced solar systems integration, the category is open to technologies that enhance the visibility and control of photovoltaic (PV) inverters and sensors and improve their security against cyberattack.

Also in the solar PV category, some USD 26 million will be allocated to research aiming to trim material and manufacturing costs for solar PV, while improving the performance and reliability of solar equipment so as to cut generation costs by 50%. The DOE has set goals of USD 0.03/kWh, USD 0.04/kWh and USD 0.05/kWh for production from unsubsidised utility-scale, commercial and residential PV systems respectively, by 2030.

In another area, the DOE will extend USD 33 million to projects dealing with research on new materials and technologies that “significantly” lower costs for concentrated solar power (CSP) with at least 12 hours of thermal energy storage. The goal is to achieve electricity production from such facilities at USD 0.05 per kWh by 2030.

Last but not least, the DOE will provide some USD 17 million for research on projects that lower the costs related to the non-hardware components of a solar system and financing and compliance with local codes, rules and regulations. Innovations and early-stage product ideas that can bring down solar costs and rapidly achieve commercialisation will get a total of USD 10 million.

“These projects will help to achieve affordable and reliable energy to enhance America’s economic growth and energy security,” the DOE said.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.888)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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