“Expanding the US 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,” says DoE secretary Steven Chu.
“These investments will help strengthen American competitiveness in renewable energy and transform the US into a lasting manufacturing presence in the 21st century clean-energy economy."
Funding of US$125m over five years to the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative will invest in manufacturing-focused research projects that have near- and mid-term impact on the US solar industry.
DoE requires that each applicant submit a concept paper in addition to standard application materials, which will allow DoE to provide feedback on the potential of their proposal to meet the goal of strengthening the US solar industry.
Funding will be available for applicants in university-focused or and industry-focused solar development. Both topics will consider collaborative research models to accelerate manufacturing-related technologies and provide maximum leverage to federal funding.
Concept papers are due June 3, with full applications due in early August.
Solar PV supply chain
Another US$40m over three years will be available to Photovoltaic Supply Chain Development that is focused on identifying and accelerating unique products or processes for the solar PV manufacturing supply chain that will have a major impact on the industry. Projects will meet DoE’s goal of achieving cost-competitive solar PV systems and accelerating the widespread implementation of PV technology.
DoE is seeking projects that focus on component and manufacturing technologies with a strong potential to impact a substantial segment of the solar PV industry within five years, such as 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 department will select large and small companies that can quickly develop new solar PV supply chain solutions, and US$10m to US$15m a year will be available to fund solar PV supply chain projects.
Applications are due July 2.
Solar instructor training network
Another US$4.5m over five years will fund National Administrator of the Solar Instructor Training Network to select a national administrator that will provide a central coordination for the training network that was created last year by DoE to establish high-quality, local, and accessible training for personnel involved in the sales, design, installation, commissioning and inspection of solar PV and solar thermal systems.
Awards have been made to 9 regional resource and training providers, and the national administrator will manage the collaboration of the network members, disseminate their products and conduct outreach efforts, such as providing recommendations for the adoption of best practices.
The selected organization will serve as a national point of contact for the solar 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 by June 15.
Marine and hydrokinetic technologies
Up to US$39m over four years will be provided to Marine & Hydrokinetic Technologies to accelerate the technological advancement and commercial readiness of emerging water power technologies that can produce cost-competitive renewable 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’ to measure and compare the maturity of evolving marine and hydropower technologies, to evaluate and select projects. Funding will leverage private-sector investment in technologies by providing cost-shared funding to industry and industry-led partnerships to advance the technological and operational readiness of marine and hydropower systems and components.
The goal is to effectively transition leading marine and hydropower system and component designs toward commercialization. Applications are due by June 7.
Funding supports US commitment to renewable energies
This funding underscores the Federal Government’s commitment to foster a “robust clean-energy sector in the United States 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” to help the US solar and water power industries to overcome technical barriers, demonstrate new technologies, and provide support for clean energy jobs.