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President Obama announced more than one billion dollars in Department of Energy (DOE) initiatives to drive innovation and accelerate the clean energy economy. As part of the President’s Clean Power Plan, DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) is making up to one billion dollars in loan guarantees available to support commercial-scale distributed energy projects, such as rooftop solar with storage and smart grid technology. In addition, through the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), DOE is awarding $24 million in funding for 11 high-performance solar power projects that could lower the cost and improve the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems. Together, these initiatives will spur innovation, ensure grid reliability and help ensure America’s low-carbon energy future.
“The announcements made today will help spur innovative clean energy technologies that will be central to the president’s Clean Power Plan and combat climate change,” said Secretary Moniz. “The Clean Power Plan is a tremendous opportunity for American businesses to be global leaders in solar and distributed energy technologies. This will help shepherd in a new era of clean energy jobs and a low-carbon economy that will deliver affordable and reliable power to America’s homes and businesses.”
Loan Program Office – Loan Guarantees for Distributed Energy Projects
Distributed energy technologies, such as rooftop solar, energy storage, smart grid technology, and methane capture for oil and gas wells, solve key energy challenges, create economic opportunity, strengthen energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, these distributed technologies may be limited by market barriers since commercial lenders are often unwilling or unable to take on the risk of a new or innovative technology until it has a solid history of credit performance and commercial operation. The LPO’s announcement will help overcome market barriers and accelerate deployment of innovative distributed energy technologies by making one billion dollars of loan guarantee authority available through the existing Title XVII program and providing guidance on the types of financial structures it can support for distributed energy projects.
Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy – MOSAIC Program
ARPA-E’s Micro-scale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAIC) program is awarding $24 million to 11 teams across the country to develop new solar technologies that will create highly efficient photovoltaic (PV) panels that capture more sunlight using less area. For example, many roofs are not well suited for conventional solar panels due to their size and/or location, making them inefficient and costly for some residents, businesses and utilities. However, using Concentrated Solar Power (CPV) optical devices that concentrate sunlight onto a smaller, high efficiency solar PV receiver can reduce the footprint of conventional solar panels, while maintaining their ability to generate electricity.
Current CPV technologies are location dependent, and require expensive materials to integrate into existing solar systems. MOSAIC seeks to overcome these challenges and develop small CPV systems (known as micro-scale CPV technology) that integrate more affordable materials and manufacturing techniques into PV solar panels that can be adopted in more locations.
MOSAIC has selected projects in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Washington and New York to develop solar modules that integrate high-performance micro-scale concentrated PV technologies into “flat plate” solar panels to improve the efficiency and cost of solar technologies.