Due in part to the Energy Department’s long-term investments and partnerships with private industry, academia, and DOE National Laboratories, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels now cost 50 percent of what they did three years ago. To accelerate the development of next generation PV technologies that will further drive down costs, the Energy Department is awarding more than $14 million to 10 research institutions through its Next Generation PV 3 program to improve the performance, efficiency, and durability of solar PV devices. The R&D projects will explore a variety of leading-edge solutions, from new high-performance materials to novel techniques for creating more efficient solar cells that cost less to manufacture.
SunShot Incubator 9 winners
Through SunShot’s Incubator program, the Energy Department is investing more than $14 million in 20 small businesses that will develop innovative technologies and services to further drive down hardware and non-hardware costs for solar electric systems. The projects take a number of approaches to decreasing costs, creating a software-based solution to quantify risk for solar investors, developing advanced materials and components that maximize efficiency for concentrating solar power (CSP) and identifying ways to eliminate the need for expensive silver in solar cell manufacturing.
Solar Manufacturing Technology 2 winners
As a part of the Administration’s effort to support advanced manufacturing in the U.S., the Energy Department is committed to fostering innovation in solar energy manufacturing in order to further drive down the cost of solar technology and increase domestic manufacturing. Through SunShot’s Solar Manufacturing 2 program, the Energy Department is awarding more than $24 million to 10 U.S.-based solar manufacturers working to develop and implement innovative technologies that will reduce costs and increase efficiency in manufacturing processes used to make PV and CSP technologies. These investments focus on tackling key cost-contributors such as raw materials, labor-intensive processes, and capital expenses.