The U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday that, as part of the Department’s SunShot Initiative, it will provide $60 million to support innovative solar energy research and development. It confirmed that will be investing/awarding:
- “more than $12 million across 17 companies to help commercialize a wide range of technologies and services – from online tools that can map a rooftop’s solar potential in seconds to automated installation systems for utility scale photovoltaic plants”
- “approximately $16 million to four projects that will help develop solar devices that near the theoretical efficiency limits of single junction solar cells, or about 30 percent efficiency”
- “about $7 million to develop stronger, more reliable solar components as well as dependable performance tests for microinverters and microconverters”
- “about $8 million to help utilities forecast and integrate high levels of renewable energy generation into the grid, while ensuring reliable and affordable power”
- “about $15 million to develop power engineering curriculum and launch four regional training consortiums.” These consortiums, led by U.S. universities, utilities, and industry, will train the next generation of energy engineers, system operators and utility professionals.
- “about $1 million to Delaware State University and the University of Texas at Austin to provide solar energy research and education opportunities to minority students”
The Department estimated that the “U.S. solar industry employs about 119,000 workers at more than 5,600 companies across every state.” It also estimated that, since 2010, the solar industry has created nearly 20,000 new American jobs. These investments and awards are expected to “help lower the cost of solar electricity, advance seamless grid integration and support a growing U.S. solar workforce.”