DOE funds research aiming to make solar projects last 50 years

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has today awarded nearly $40 million to 40 projects that advance the next generation of solar, storage and industrial technologies needed to meet the Biden-Harris government’s climate target of 100% clean electricity. reach 2035. the projects will reduce the cost of solar technologies by extending the lifespan of PV systems from 30 to 50 years, developing technologies that allow solar energy to be used in fuel and chemical production, and advancing new storage technologies.

“We are focused on deploying more solar energy and developing more cost-effective technologies to decarbonize our electricity system,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Research to develop stronger and more sustainable solar panels is critical to tackling the climate crisis. The 40 projects announced today — led by universities and private companies across the country — are an investment in next-generation innovations that will bolster the country’s solar capacity and increase our power grid resilience.”

The 40 projects announced today focus on concentrating solar thermal (CSP) and PV. PV technologies convert sunlight directly into electricity, while CSP captures heat from sunlight and uses that thermal energy. The projects will focus on:

  • Photovoltaic Research – Three projects to ensure PV systems last 50 years, 20 years longer than the current PV system life, which would reduce solar system replacement and maintenance costs. These projects enable modular components that can be easily replaced due to normal wear and tear or after extreme weather conditions and better monitoring of systems. (Total Reward Amount: $4.5 million)
  • Solar Thermal Research Concentration – Thirteen projects will develop technologies that allow CSP plants to operate at the very high temperatures required to produce solar fuels and chemicals. These projects also improve the overall reliability of commercial CSP plants. (Total Reward Amount: $25 million)
  • Pumped Thermal Energy Storage – Three projects will develop long-term thermal energy storage, which can store and supply electricity for at least 10 hours when needed, in support of DOE’s Long Duration Storage Shot. (Total Reward Amount: $4 million)
  • Advances in PV and CSP Research – Twenty-one projects will test new ideas that can deliver significant results in less than two years. These projects have a simplified application process designed to encourage applications from technical and scientific researchers in traditionally underrepresented groups, as well as from early stage researchers who have never applied for or were never selected for DOE funding. (Total amount: $6 million)

In addition, DOE is requesting comments on the proposed areas of research to support U.S. solar production. The request for information asks for feedback on research, development and demonstration areas that will help scale solar deployment across the country. DOE is committed to investing in product development and demonstration projects to accelerate the growth of the solar industry and put the US at the forefront of solar industry progress. Interested parties may email before November 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM ET.

Finally, DOE seeks commentary on performance targets for perovskite photovoltaics, a material for making solar panels that demonstrates the potential for highly efficient operation and low production costs. These targets will help demonstrate technical and commercial readiness for perovskites. Interested parties may email responses to no later than November 12, 2021 at 5:00 PM ET.

News item from DOE

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