SunShot scheme awarded $9m solar R&D funding

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The SunShot initiative from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced this week that it will make available as much as $9 million in funding for research and development projects that "advance the reliability and durability of solar PV technologies".

The monies will be steered towards R&D support projects that not only improve product testing procedures but also go some way to improving module quality and performance by developing tools and processes that give solar developers and investors "access to improved predictive models, relevant accelerated testing techniques and more reliable PV modules that ultimately increase PV system investments", said a DOE statement.

Projects that may be eligible for a portion of the funding must demonstrate that they have tackled many of the key conundrums facing the solar industry, namely the issue of understanding how and why solar modules degrade over time, and exploring ways to combat this degradation and improve the lifetime performance of standard modules.

DOE confirmed that the key focus areas in which this funding will be steered are R&D projects that use physics, chemistry and advanced data analysis to lower costs and improve efficiency of solar PV modules.

In May, SunShot launched a Catalyst Program designed to marry traditional solar industry problems with existing tools and data sets, offering a $1 million cash pool to researchers able to successfully tackle these pressing problems within the solar sector.