The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $107 million in funding for solar power projects under its SunShot Initiative.
The funding includes $42 million to improve photovoltaic performance and reliability and to enable higher market penetration for solar technologies.
The DOE is also plans to make $65 million available, subject to Congressional appropriation, for solar research and development projects that could drive down the cost of solar power.
SunShot's goal is to lower the levelized cost of utility-scale solar power to $0.06/kWh without incentives by 2020.
In May, the DOE released progress reports on its SunShot program as of year-end 2015. The "On the Path to SunShot" report said the installed price of utility-scale solar without incentives has fallen 70% in the Initiative’s first five years, from $0.21/kWh to $0.11/kWh. SunShot’s goal is to reduced levelized utility scale solar power costs to $0.06/kWh.
In its latest around of awards, $17 million was awarded to 19 projects that have the potential to produce solar power at a levelized cost of energy of $0.02-0.03/kWh by 2030. Among the awardees are Arizona State University, Colorado State University and Washington State University.
The DOE awarded $25 million in its Tech to Market category for 21 projects that have the potential to bring solar power to the commercial market more quickly. Among the awardees are ABB, Crystal Solar Inc., Ethical Electric, Kevala Inc., Sunfolding Inc., and Sunpreme Inc.
In the $65 million for which the DOE is seeking appropriation, $25 million would be for funding to improve PV module and system design, $30 million would be for projects that can speed the commercialization of products and solutions that can help to drive down the cost of solar energy, and the final $10 million would be for projects that support advancements in solar forecasting that could enable higher penetration of solar power.
"Since 2008, the commitments made by the Department of Energy have contributed to solar PV's deployment growing 30-fold and overall costs falling more than 60%.” Franklin Orr, Under Secretary for Science and Energy, said in a statement. “Continuing to invest in solar technologies will help to drive down costs even further for American consumers and ensure that the U.S. maintains global leadership in this century's clean energy economy.”