SunShot initiative funds $9m of solar data projects

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Some $7m will be devoted to four projects where statistical and computational tools will be applied to industry datasets, and a further $2m will fund three projects using similar methods on historical data.

Of the contemporary data projects, Yale University will work with SmartPower’s New England Solar Challenge to come up with strategies for the better development of community-led bulk solar purchases.

The University of Texas-Austin will work with data from six Texan utilities to better understand customer needs and improve installation and connection for solar projects.

The Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory will work with Clean Power Finance to analyze data from 1,300 solar installers to establish better community and regional financing models, and a further data project from Sandia International Laboratories completes the four projects working with contemporary datasets.

California-based SRI International is one of two institutions working with historical data, in its case by applying software to read decades’ worth of patents and science publications to speed solar tech innovation and commercialization.

The other recipient of the $2m SunShot funding for historical data application, is a project between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Researchers will apply computational tools to solar patents and cost and production information with the aim of speeding cost reduction and predicting future such savings.