Author: US DOE Staff Published: 1/4/2024 EERE
Solar Energy Technologies Office
What’s Inside: This recap of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office’s (SETO) work in 2023 shares the year’s most popular resources; big initiatives and events; prizes and competitions; and more.
Dear Solar Supporter,
In 2023, we announced more than $200 million in new funding and prizes to advance a wide array of solar innovations. Stay tuned throughout the year for updates on these projects and future funding opportunities. We look forward to seeing your applications!
As we start the new year, we’d like to share some bright spots of our work in 2023. We hope these will excite you about what more we can accomplish together in the year to come.
- Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics
- How Does Solar Work?
- Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar
- Federal Solar Tax Credits for Businesses
- Solar Photovoltaic Technology Basics
- Solar Photovoltaic Cell Basics
- Solar Energy, Wildlife, and the Environment
- Solar Radiation Basics
- Perovskite Solar Cells
- Solar Integration: Inverters and Grid Services Basics
In 2023, SETO launched “Connect the Dots on Solar Energy” to highlight the many benefits that solar energy generates to support an equitable transition to a decarbonized electricity system by 2035 and decarbonized energy sector by 2050. Over the course of the year, SETO connected the dots on the benefits of five solar themes: Community Solar, Solar Innovation, Health & Environment, Solar Workforce, and Rooftop Solar.
SETO isn’t done connecting the dots on solar energy, so stay tuned for updates in the new year!
At RE+ 2023, an annual clean energy industry conference, SETO hosted workshops, spoke on panels, and participated in education and show floor sessions to highlight the office’s efforts to drive innovation, lower costs, and support the transition to a decarbonized power sector by 2035 and a decarbonized economy by 2050.
Celebrating One Year of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
In September, SETO marked the one-year anniversary of the IRA with a webinar: Celebrating One Year of the IRA and What’s Next for the Solar Industry. In this webinar, SETO discussed how the IRA has impacted domestic solar manufacturing and encouraged equitable solar energy deployment since it passed—and where DOE sees the industry heading next.
SETO funds prizes and competitions to accelerate innovation, and last year’s competitors did not disappoint.
- We launched two rounds of the American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize to expand a robust ecosystem of community solar project developers that incorporate meaningful benefits into projects across the United States.
- DOE announced two winners of the American-Made Solar Prize Round 6 at the RE+ trade show. Round 7 is underway.
- Five community solar projects and programs won grand prizes in the 2023 Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar for their work to increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities.
- The American-Made Solar Data Bounty Prize advanced open-source data efforts, collecting more than 4 billion data points from PV systems across the United States.
- The Solar District Cup Class of 2023 had 45 teams from 39 collegiate institutions design and model distributed energy systems. Now, 56 teams from 51 institutions in the Class of 2024 are busy reimagining renewable energy solutions. It’s not too late to join the single-semester session of Solar District Cup—apply by January 25!
- Katz Water Technologies became the first team to advance to the fourth phase of the American-Made Solar Desalination Prize where they will build a system, demonstrate its operation, and validate key performance metrics.
- DOE launched the American-Made Heliostat Prize and announced that nine teams are advancing in the competition.
Collaboration and Connection
SETO collaborated with other DOE offices and federal agencies on several projects in 2023:
- The Equitable Solar Communities of Practice program was developed in partnership with the DOE Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) to support the equitable distribution of the benefits of solar energy.
- The Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) is a program aiming to develop innovative solutions to enable faster, simpler, and fairer interconnection of solar energy, wind energy, and energy storage. SETO and the Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) co-lead the program and 2023 has been dedicated to drafting a transmission system interconnection roadmap with help from i2X Solution e-Xchanges.
- SETO and WETO also jointly launched the Solar and Wind Grid Services and Reliability Demonstration funding program, a $26 million investment in the demonstration of reliable operation of a power system that has up to 100% of its power contribution coming from solar, wind, and battery storage resources.
- SETO collaborated with the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy and OTT on the Renewable Energy Siting through Technical Engagement and Planning (R-STEP) program, which seeks to expand the decision-making capacity and expertise of state and local governments around large-scale renewable energy planning, siting, and permitting.
- In a joint effort with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), SETO released a summary report of responses to the Low-Income Community Solar Subscription Tool request for information (RFI).
- SETO and the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) released the Summary: Vehicle-Integrated PV RFI. This summary is a response to an RFI issued by the offices on vehicle-integrated and vehicle-added PV systems.
- SETO worked with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to develop the U.S. Large-Scale Solar PV Database, a new public resource that will enable researchers to observe trends in large-scale solar development as well as inform siting and planning for future deployment.
- SETO Director Becca Jones-Albertus contributed to the Loan Programs Office’s report on Pathways to Commercial Liftoff for Virtual Power Plants (VPPs), which underscores the role VPPs need to play in the Nation’s affordable, reliable, and clean energy future.
Thank you for your interest in our work, and we hope that you continue to stay engaged with us. You can always visit SETO’s website to get up to speed on the latest research. We look forward to continuing to work together to support the growth of solar in 2023 and beyond. Please feel free to reach out with any questions by emailing email@example.com.
Wishing you a happy new year!