DOE announces $45 million for pilot manufacturing of solar components


As part the Biden Administration’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $45 million in funding, including $18 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to support pilot manufacturing of solar components. The Investing in America agenda intends to bring manufacturing back to America after decades of offshoring, which will relieve the U.S. dependence on foreign countries for imports, but will also create new, good-paying jobs.

The funding to bolster manufacturing for the solar sector supports the Biden Administration’s goal of reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. by roughly 40% in 2030. Specifically, it will support the development of new dual-use solar technologies such as agrivoltaics and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) to create new markets for American products.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has led to a surge of solar manufacturing announcements and has created thousands of good paying, union jobs in solar deployment,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With these innovative, made-in-America technologies, the Biden-Harris Administration is powering the clean energy transition, lowering electricity costs for hardworking Americans, and protecting the future for our children from the impacts of the climate crisis.”

Agrivoltaics, BIPV, floating PV, and vehicle-integrated PV are all examples of dual-use solar in which solar is generated in an application that can serve a secondary purpose. By integrating solar energy systems into existing landscapes, such as in agrivoltaics, which pairs solar with agricultural use, dual-use PV has the potential to minimize land-use challenges.

To date there have been 63 domestic manufacturing announcements across the solar supply chain since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, according to the DOE. More than 40 of these have been announced since the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act just about one year ago. One these facilities are operational, they will contribute important domestic components needed for the build out of a clean energy industry in the U.S. while also creating jobs, simplifying shipping and logistics, and reducing supply chain uncertainty.

The Silicon Solar Manufacturing and Dual-use Photovoltaics Incubator funding opportunity will:

  • Fund up to 12 projects to help establish a network of manufacturers across the domestic solar supply chain focused on polysilicon production, silicon ingots and wafers, solar cells, glass and other module components, and associated manufacturing equipment.
  • Fund projects that will aim to open new markets for the emerging dual-use PV sectors, in particular agrivoltaics, building-integrated PV, floating PV, and vehicle-integrated PV.
  • Create opportunities to develop domestically made products capable of expanding PV markets and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, through dual-use technologies.

An informational webinar will be held on July 12 at 4 p.m. ET. Mandatory concept papers are due by September 27, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET. Register for the webinar here.

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