The Department of Energy wants you!

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Recent research suggested that government policy has offered significant support to declines in the cost of solar. Of those reductions delivered by government, the report noted that 60% were from market stimulation policies, while 40% were from research and development.

With the goal of gathering insights about priority research and development needs across the solar industry, the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) has issued a request for information (RFI) from solar industry professionals on the topics of photovoltaics, systems, integration, solar thermal and soft costs. SETO seeks to:

achieve a better understanding of the problems facing solar stakeholders including researchers, analysts, and manufacturers supporting the technological advancement and wide-scale adoption of solar technology.

SETO asks that professionals send an email to the addresses below focused on the following topics:

The RFI’s photovoltaics section suggested topics such as advanced PV manufacturing science, high efficiency tandem cell and module development, and reliability of module-level power electronics.

The systems integration researchers are seeking opinions on addressing early stage research and development gaps with adaptive protection, smart inverter dynamic models, behind-the-meter grid services, grid-forming inverter controls, utilization of PV inverters as grid sensors, and cyber-secure PV plants.

SETO’s main goal is to support the Sunshot 2030 Goal:

  • $0.05 per kilowatt hour for residential PV
  • $0.04 per kilowatt hour for commercial PV
  • $0.03 per kilowatt hour for utility-scale PV

The department’s SETO FY2018 awards recently announced 53 projects that were chosen to receive up to $53 million in total funding. Solar photovoltaics got $28 million for 31 projects, concentrating solar got $12 million across 15 projects, and workforce initiatives got $13 million across seven projects.

Just before that, the group put out a Funding Opportunity Announcement, with an aim to increase “situational awareness in strategic locations associated with critical infrastructure (that) can significantly improve the reliability and continuity of service of solar-generated electricity.”