DOE to Spur Commercialization of Solar and Water Power Technologies

The Department of Energy on Earth Day last week announced it would invest more than $200 million over five years to accelerate the development and commercialization of solar and water power technologies. Investments include initiatives to spur photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing, to develop the PV supply chain, and to accelerate marine and hydrokinetic technologies.

Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative
The DOE will invest up to $125 million over five years in manufacturing-focused research projects that will have near- and mid-term impact on the U.S. solar industry and will catalyze greater cooperation within the industry. Funding will be available for applicants in two topic areas: university-focused development and industry-focused development. Both topics will consider collaborative research models to accelerate manufacturing-related technologies and provide maximum leverage to federal funding.

This funding opportunity requires that each applicant organization submit a concept paper in addition to standard application materials. These papers will allow the DOE to provide feedback to applicants on the potential of their proposal to meet the PV Manufacturing Initiative’s goal of strengthening the U.S. PV industry.

Concept papers are due June 3, 2010 with full applications due in early August.

Photovoltaic Supply Chain Development
The DOE plans to fund up to $40 million over three years to identify and accelerate unique products or processes for the photovoltaic manufacturing supply chain that will have a major impact on the industry. The projects will help meet the DOE’s goal of achieving cost-competitive solar PV systems compared with conventional forms of electricity, and accelerating and facilitating the widespread implementation of solar technology.

The DOE is seeking projects focused on component and manufacturing technologies that show a strong potential to impact a substantial segment of the photovoltaic industry within two to five years. Examples include engineering lower cost coating materials, electrical components to improve performance, processes that reduce manufacturing waste, or equipment that dramatically improves manufacturing or installation speed.

The DOE plans to select both large and small companies that can quickly develop new photovoltaic supply chain solutions. The DOE anticipates that approximately $10 million to $15 million annually will be available to fund these PV supply chain projects.

Applications are due July 2, 2010.

Marine and Hydrokinetic Technologies (MHK)
The DOE plans to invest up to $39 million over four years to accelerate the technological advancement and commercial readiness of emerging water power technologies that can produce renewable, cost-competitive electricity by harnessing the energy of waves, currents, tides, and free-flowing rivers, or energy stored in ocean thermal gradients. The DOE will use "technology readiness levels," a tool which has been effectively used by numerous companies and federal agencies to measure and compare the maturity of evolving technologies, to evaluate and select projects.

This funding opportunity seeks to leverage private-sector investment in MHK technologies by providing cost-shared funding to industry and industry-led partnerships in order to advance the technological and operational readiness of MHK systems and components. The goal is to effectively transition leading MHK system and component designs toward commercialization.

Applications are due June 7, 2010.

For more information on these funding opportunity announcements, visit the Solar Energy Technologies Program’s Financial Opportunities site or the Wind and Water Power Program’s Financial Opportunities site.

Source: DOE

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