US Department of Energy backs solar with further $46.2m for SunShot Initiative

While the very real fears that Donald Trump might get shot of the SunShot Initiative have not melted away, the Department of Energy (DOE) continues to plow on with its welcome and appreciated funding of the program.

This week, a further $46.2 million in funding was announced for a total of 48 solar projects. The monies are intended to support innovative, early-stage solar power technologies aimed at bringing further cost reduction and improved reliability and efficiency to the industry.

This latest round of funding spans two different portions of the SunShot Initiative. The Photovoltaics Research and Developmnet 2 (PVRD2) program – which focuses on the supporting a wide variety of PV research pathways and module/system designs – will receive $20.5 million across 28 recognized projects.

The SunShot Technology to Market 3 (TSM3) program, meanwhile, will steer the remaining $25.7 million in funding towards supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses setting out in the early stages of researching new PV technologies that could accelerate efficiency gains and cost reduction.

The DOE adds that cost share requirements will leverage extra funding from the private sector, and thus could yield combined public and private funding of $56 million.

“The SunShot Initiative is a proven driver of solar energy innovation,” enthused Charlie Gay, the initiative director. “These projects ensure there is a pipeline of knowledge, human resources, transformative technology solutions, and research to support the industry.”

Notable recipients for this latest round of DOE funding include Stanford University, which will receive $1.37 million to work on perovskite module design; Colorado State University, which will utilize the $1.13 million grant to improve thin-film manufacturing, and Arizona State University, which will receive $1.6 million to develop an X-ray test for the evaluation of the performance of thin-film modules operating under tough environmental conditions.