DOE invests $200 million in solar and marine power technologies

Washington, D.C., April 22, 2010 – Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the DOE will invest more than $200 million over five years to expand and accelerate the development, commercialization and use of solar and water power technologies throughout the U.S.

This funding underscores the administration’s commitment to foster a robust renewable energy sector in the U.S. – that will create American manufacturing jobs and a workforce with the required technical training to speed the implementation of cutting-edge technologies.

The announcement represents a down payment that will help the solar and marine power industries overcome technical barriers, demonstrate new technologies, and provide support for clean energy jobs for years to come.

“Expanding the U.S. clean-energy manufacturing base is an important part of the administration’s goals to diversify electricity supply options, increase national security, and accelerate green jobs development,” said Secretary Chu. “These investments will help strengthen American competitiveness in renewable energy and transform the U.S. into a lasting manufacturing presence in the 21st century clean-energy economy.”

Today’s investments include:

Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative – up to $125 million over five years

The DOE will invest in manufacturing-focused research projects that will have near and mid-term impact on the U.S. solar power 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 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 – up to $40 million over three years

This funding is focused on identifying and accelerating 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 about $10-$15 million annually will be available to fund these PV supply chain projects.

Applications are due July 2, 2010.

National Administrator of the Solar Instructor Training Network – up to $4.5 million over five years

This funding opportunity will select a national administrator that will act as a central coordinating body for the training network. The network was created in 2009, by the DOE to establish high-quality, local and accessible training for personnel involved in the sales, design, installation, commissioning and inspection of solar photovoltaic and solar heating and cooling systems. Awards were made to nine regional resource and training providers.

The national administrator will manage the collaboration of the training network members, disseminating their products and conducting other outreach efforts such as providing recommendations for the adoption of best practices. The selected organization will also serve as a national point of contact for the training network and will work with a broad set of stakeholders to define, prioritize and address issues related to solar training and workforce development.

Applications are due June 15, 2010.

Marine and Hydrokinetic Technologies (MHK) – up to $39 million over four years

The DOE will 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.

DOE will use “technology readiness levels” a tool that 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.


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