Vitality Division Publicizes $45 Million in Funding for Solar Applied sciences

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WASHINGTON, DC – The US Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $ 45 million in research to advance solar hardware and system integration, including creating a consortium to develop control technologies for a modernized power grid.

While solar accounts for three percent of US electricity, that amount is projected to reach 18 percent by 2050 – which will require increasing solar capacity by hundreds of gigawatts. For this reason, the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Bureau (EERE) is looking for new solutions that can reliably inject large amounts of solar energy into the grid and ensure that American-made hardware is used in these installations.

“The nation’s solar energy use is increasing,” said Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette. “Investing in innovative research and development projects will help the technologies we use benefit the US economy and provide safe and reliable power to all Americans.” ”

The funding program for system integration and hardware incubator of the EERE Office for Solar Energy Technologies (SETO) for the fiscal year 2021 will drive solar forward in two major areas: system integration and hardware incubator.


Today’s network uses electricity from several energy sources and has become digitized and complex. The reliable and secure connection of solar energy to the power grid – be it as photovoltaics (PV) on a supply scale or as smaller distributed PV systems for private households and companies – is a challenge that the following two subject areas should face. The new research roadmap for grid-forming inverters, which was developed in cooperation with three national DOE laboratories and two universities, will support research in the further development of these technologies. US universities, corporations, nonprofits, and state, local, and tribal governments are encouraged to apply under this theme. DOE is looking for innovative projects in the following areas:

  • Research Consortium for Grid-Building Technologies – $ 25 million, 1 award: Networking technologies automatically coordinate inverter-based and other resources to start and maintain electricity in the grid. SETO and the Bureau of Wind Energy Technologies, also within EERE, will support the creation of a consortium to advance research and industry collaboration on grid-building technologies and ensure that they improve the operation of power systems.
  • Integration of solar resources behind the meter into utility data systems – $ 6 million, 2-3 awards: Integrated communication systems that process sensor measurements from distributed energy sources, especially from solar PV systems behind the meter, are required to supply energy to utility companies. These systems will lead to better visibility of the PV system and more flexible and reliable control and operation of the entire power supply system. Selected projects will receive funding between $ 2 million and $ 3 million.


In 2019, less than half of the US $ 9 billion spent on PV hardware was spent on domestic hardware. The manufacturing of solar hardware in the United States creates jobs and economic activity, and promotes energy security. This theme aims to increase US solar production by bringing innovative technologies to market faster. Only US nonprofits can apply under this topic. DOE is looking for innovative projects in the following areas:

  • Product Development – $ 6 Million, 6 to 12 Awards: The aim of this subject area is to bring new technologies and manufacturing processes into the prototype phase and to develop and validate a path to commercial success. Selected projects will receive funding between $ 500,000 and $ 1.5 million.
  • Product Development and Demonstration – $ 8 Million, 1-4 Awards: In this subject area, products or solutions are tested and demonstrated on a pilot scale. Examples include manufacturing processes for solar hardware with high volume or high throughput; Manufacture of a large number of devices for field tests and validations; and demonstration of a system such as a microgrid that pilot tests new hardware. Selected projects will receive funding between $ 1.5 million and $ 3 million.

Sign up to learn more about this funding opportunity in an upcoming webinar. Visit the SETO website for more information. Find out more about EERE here.


Media contact: (202) 586-4940

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December 16, 2020, 8:33 PM GMT

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