DOE to fund $45M to advance solar hardware and systems integration

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The Department of Energy has announced a $45 million investment aimed to advance solutions for the renewable energy industry, such as solar hardware and system integration, for the modernization and further development of the U.S. grid.

As solar energy is expected to peak in decades to come, raising from the 3% that represents today in the total U.S. electricity output, to 18% by 2050, the grid needs an increase of hundreds of gigawatts of solar capacity.

With these criteria, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will conduct this new search for innovative solutions that would reliably add big quantities of new solar energy onto the U.S. grid.

“Nation’s solar energy use is on the rise; investing in innovative research and development projects will help ensure that the technologies we’re using benefit the U.S. economy; while securely delivering reliable power to all Americans,” said Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette.

As we reported previously, Vermont is one of the states that has been struggling with the grid capacity. In the Northeast Kingdom there are several solar projects stalled because the grid carries much more energy than the state can consume. Initiatives such as these may help states of the nation to further develop their markets.

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Solar hardware will boost U.S. manufacturing

According to DOE’s report, the funding will be exercised in two broad areas: systems integration and solar hardware incubator.

“Today’s grid uses power from multiple energy resources, and it has become digitized and complex. Connecting solar reliably and securely to the power grid is a challenge the two topic areas below are designed to meet,” DOE’s report reads.

It refers to a Grid-Forming Technologies Research Consortium, funded with $25 million; and the integration of behind-the-meter Solar Resources into Utility Data Systems, funded with 6 more million. By integrating these two realms, photovoltaic systems would be more flexible and reliable on the grid.

As for the hardware incubator, it is “designed to increase U.S. solar manufacturing; by bringing innovative technologies to market more quickly.” The funding will be open in two realms, a fund for Product Development, of $6 million, and another for Product Development and Demonstration, with $8 million.

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