The DOE intends to advance the research and development of solar technologies, through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)


United States Department of Energy headquarters on Independence Avenue. (Credit: Wikipedia/US Department of Energy)

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a new funding of up to $125.5m to support solar technology research that reduces the cost of solar and improve grid reliability.

DOE said that through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Solar Energy Technologies Office, it intends to advance the research and development of solar technologies.

In addition to the current solar funding, EERE has announced up to $43.8m financing to support the geothermal research and development.

US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said: “Solar energy has grown tremendously in the last decade.

“The research and development supported by this investment will build on the technological foundations necessary to continue the solar industry’s growth and preserve American energy choice, independence, and security.

“These investments directly support the Trump Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy.”

The DOE funding will support advancement of solar technology research

Under the funding, $15m will be allocated for advancing the photovoltaics (PV) hardware research, to extend PV system lifetimes and reduce hardware costs of solar systems.

DOE will spend $39m on Integrated Thermal Energy Storage and Brayton Cycle Equipment Demonstration (Integrated TESTBED) to speed up the commercialisation of supercritical carbon dioxide power cycles.

Under Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies 3 (SEEDS 3), $10m will be allocated to 6-8 projects to examine information flow in solar and other emerging technologies.

The agency will spend $14m on hardware incubator for 7-9 projects, to advance the new product ideas from a prototype to a pre-commercial stage, and support solar manufacturing sector in the US.

In addition, it will spend $30m for projects that will develop resilient community microgrids to maintain power during and restore power after disasters as well as improve cybersecurity for PV inverters and power systems.

DOE intends to fund $6m for artificial intelligence applications in solar energy, to strengthen collaborations between AI and solar industry partners.

US Under Secretary of Energy Mark W Menezes said: “The Trump Administration continues to expeditiously announce funding opportunities for the growing demand for clean and renewable technologies on the grid.

Progress made in cybersecurity and grid integration build on previous FOAs, and including new topics to help the agriculture community and folding in AI technologies and machine learning, only help bolster the need for solar technologies now, and in the future.”