US Department of Energy announces $130m for solar projects

Jack Unwin 27 March 2019 (Last Updated March 27th, 2019 17:20)

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $130m of funding for new research into advancing early-stage solar technologies.

US Department of Energy announces $130m for solar projects
US Department of Energy opens National Reactor Innovation Centre. Credit: US Department of Energy

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $130m of funding for new research into advancing early-stage solar technologies.

The funding will look to target five areas of research including concentrated solar power (CSP), innovations in manufacturing and solar systems integration.

Of the $130m, $26m will go to photovoltaic (PV) research and development, with the aim of halving the cost of solar panels by reducing material and manufacturing costs. The DOE also hope this research will help reduce the energy costs for commercial and residential buildings to be between $0.03 and $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Another $33m will be allocated to CSP research and development, with the DOE targeting a price of $0.05 per kWh for CSP-generated electricity. This will include work on autonomous solar fields.

A further $17m will be used to help balance system soft costs reduction, to help developing solar markets and permit issues. While $10m will go towards supporting companies with early-stage product ideas to lower solar costs and $44m to support grid operators to integrate solar energy into the grid, and improve the security of solar devices from cyber attack.

Secretary of energy Rick Perry tweeted: “Solar is an integral part of the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy & this cutting-edge, early-stage R&D will work in concert with other innovative technologies to provide affordable, efficient, & reliable energy to the American people.”

A recent report found that 10.6GW of US solar capacity was added in 2018, a 2% decrease on the previous year.