The Department of Energy Awards $128M for Solar Technologies and $80M for Grid Modernization Lab Call

Nov 18, 2019

by ASME.org

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently awarded $128 million to 75 innovative research projects that will lower solar electricity costs, boost solar manufacturing, and make solar systems more resilient to cyberattacks. At the same time, DOE announced $80 million in funding for the latest Lab Call from the Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI). 13 of the 17 National Laboratories will participate in 23 projects that aim to improve the resilience of the nation’s energy infrastructure.

Solar Technology
The $128 million for solar innovation projects is divided as follows:

  • $6.8 million for 7 projects from manufacturing hardware incubators with early-stage product ideas that can lower costs and shorten time to market.
  • $17.6 million for 19 projects that work to reduce the cost of non-hardware components, such as costs association with meeting regulations and financing.
  • $23.6 million for 21 projects that aim to reduce the cost of solar photovoltaics by half.
  • $30 million for 13 projects that enable Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and new materials and technologies that significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing.
  • $50 million for 15 projects in advanced solar integration that improve the ability of grid operators to effectively integrate solar generation onto the grid.

These 75 projects span 22 states. A full list of awards can be found here.

Grid Modernization
The $80 million solicitation announced by DOE comes as a result of the 2019 Grid Modernization Lab Call issued in late May 2019. The Lab Call focused on six key topic areas, including resilient modeling, energy storage, sensors and data analytics, institutional support, cyber-physical systems, and generation. Projects will span three years and industry participation will account for 20% of cost-share of each of the 23 projects. The Grid Modernization Initiative encourages public-private partnerships, and in addition to 13 National Laboratories participating in this renewed effort, over 100 partners—including cities, states, universities, industry, and other Federal agencies—have committed to participate.

DOE’s first Grid Modernization Lab Call was issued in 2016, when $220 million was allocated for 87 projects nationwide aimed at advancing critical research and development in advanced storage systems, clean energy integration, standards and test procedures, and other key grid modernization areas. In 2017, DOE announced up to $32M over three years for 7 additional projects.