The Biden-Harris administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), has unveiled a slate of new initiatives and $56 million in funding, including $10 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to spur innovation in solar manufacturing and recycling.
“This administration wants to seize U.S. leadership in solar energy, from manufacturing to recycling, and that means making the right investments to ensure these technologies are made right here at home,” states U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE is able to invest in our nation’s innovators so they can improve manufacturing and strengthen the domestic solar supply chain – lowering energy bills for Americans and businesses and driving toward an equitable clean energy future.”
According to DOE’s Solar Supply Chain Review Report, developing more domestic solar manufacturing can lead to benefits to the climate and environment as well as for American workers, employers and national security, while lowering energy bills for American families. The new programs are designed to drive innovation in solar technology and manufacturing, supporting opportunities for the U.S. to expand production of thin-film modules, which do not rely on foreign-dominated supply chains, as well as supporting newer technologies like perovskite solar cells.
The $29 million FY22 Photovoltaics (PV) Research and Development funding opportunity includes $10 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support projects that increase the reuse and recycling of solar technologies. The funding opportunity also supports projects to develop PV module designs that reduce manufacturing costs, as well as those that advance the manufacturing of PV cells made from perovskites, a family of materials that show potential for durability, high performance and low production costs.
The FY22 Solar Manufacturing Incubator funding opportunity will provide $27 million for projects aimed at commercializing new technologies that can expand private investment in U.S. solar manufacturing. Funding is available for projects that ready new technologies and manufacturing processes for commercialization and demonstrate solutions that can boost domestic manufacturing of thin-film PV made from cadmium telluride, the second-most common PV technology on the market, behind silicon.
DOE also announced $18 million in funding through the Technology Commercialization Fund for seven proposed National Laboratory projects designed to tackle commercialization challenges DOE-funded technologies face.
DOE is also issuing a request for information on challenges and opportunities for vehicle-integrated PV, which would enable solar energy to provide power to vehicles, including cars, recreational vehicles, trains, boats and planes. The solar and transportation industries and other stakeholders are encouraged to submit feedback by August 22 at 5 p.m. ET.
In addition, DOE announced $8 million will go to seven small solar companies to perform research and development in concentrating solar-thermal power, power electronics and solar-powered water technologies.