The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded nearly $40 million to 40 solar projects that target improving solar lifespan from 30 to 50 years, develop technologies that enable solar use in fuels and chemicals production, and advance novel energy storage technologies.
“We are laser focused on deploying more solar power and developing more cost-effective technologies to decarbonize our electricity system,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm in announcing the awards. She said that research to develop stronger and longer-lasting solar panels is critical to addressing the climate crisis.
- $4.5 million awarded across three projects to extend solar PV lifespans to 50 years. The projects use modular design so that components may be replaced due to normal wear and tear or extreme weather events. The projects also support enhanced system monitoring.
- $25 million awarded across 13 projects focused on enhancing the capabilities of concentrating solar power (CSP). The projects will enable CSP plants to operate at high temperatures, which could be used for fuel and chemical production. The projects also address CSP reliability.
- $4 million awarded across three projects to develop long-duration thermal energy storage, which could store and deliver at least 10 hours of electricity flexibly. These projects are also part of the DOE’s Long Duration Storage Shot program.
$6 million awarded across 21 projects to test novel ideas in both PV and CSP and that can produce significant results in less than two years. These projects have a streamlined application process that is designed to encourage applications from engineering and science researchers in traditionally underrepresented groups, as well as early-career researchers.
DOE said it will seek further input on future research needs. Specifically, it requestedD information for proposed research areas for supporting U.S. solar manufacturing, and performance targets for perovskite photovoltaics.
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