The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced yesterday that it plans to “cut the cost of solar energy by 60% within the next 10 years, in addition to nearly $ 128 million in funding to reduce costs, the performance to improve and accelerate the deployment of solar energy.
The new target pushes the previous utility-scale solar energy target forward by five years. This DOE announcement is part of the Biden administration’s plan to decarbonise the U.S. energy sector by 2035.
The DOE writes:
To achieve that goal in the next 15 years, hundreds of gigawatts of solar energy will need to be installed as much as five times faster than now. To that end, DOE is accelerating its utility-scale solar cost target by five years – with a new goal of reducing current costs from 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 3 cents / kWh in 2025 and 2 cents / kWh by 2030.
Funding announced through DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO – and right front cover funding opportunities, resources and areas of research) will support advancement of materials used to make solar cells [via the DOE website]
$ 40 million for perovskite R&D: Perovskites are a family of emerging solar materials that have the potential to make highly efficient thin film solar cells with very low manufacturing costs. The DOE awards $ 40 million to 22 projects that will advance perovskite PV device and manufacturing research and development, as well as performance through the formation of a new $ 14 million test center to provide neutral, independent validation of the performance of new perovskite devices .
$ 3 million Perovskite Startup Prize This new prize competition will accelerate entrepreneurs’ path to commercializing perovskite technologies by providing seed capital to their newly formed businesses.
$ 20 million for thin CdTe films: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will set up a consortium to promote cheaper CdTe thin film solar technologies, which are developed in the US and make up 20% of the modules installed in this country. This consortium will promote low-cost manufacturing techniques and in-house research capabilities to increase the opportunities for U.S. workers and entrepreneurs to conquer a greater share of the $ 60 billion global solar industry.
The DOE also announced $ 7 million as part of a new funding opportunity for projects to extend the life of silicon-based PV systems from approximately 30 years to 50 years to reduce energy costs and reduce waste. The goal is to improve components of PV systems, such as inverters, connectors, cables, racks and trackers.
Energy Minister Jennifer Granholm stated:
In many parts of the country, solar energy is already cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels, and with more innovation, we can cut costs by more than half within a decade.
This first burst of funding will help us add even more affordable clean energy to the grid, add jobs to communities across the country, and move us towards President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.
The solar energy sector now has one of the fastest growing job figures in the US and is expected to be the main source of new electricity generation in the country this year.
This is really exciting. It reminds me of James Montgomery Flagg’s Uncle Sam poster ‘I want you for the US Army’ from both world wars. It’s a call to arms, but for solar innovation. And the DOE is using creative ways to encourage Americans to attend the occasion.
If you click on the link “$ 40 Million to 22 Projects” above, you will be presented with all the exciting projects underway at universities and other organizations. And the startup award resembles clean energy and EV projects in the private sector, such as at Elemental Excelerator, where Electrek recently spoke with Danielle J. Harris, director of mobility innovation (who is currently taking applications for cohort 10).
Necessity is the mother of the invention, right? It’s a great time to be a clean energy entrepreneur or researcher. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this call for green energy greatness.
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