Author: US DOE Staff Published: 1/11/2024 EERE
Solar Energy Technologies Office
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Twenty semifinalists are advancing in the American-Made Solar Prize Round 7, a competition designed to energize the U.S. solar industry by supporting entrepreneurs. The semifinalists will each receive $50,000. Four competitors will receive a bonus $25,000 for winning the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Contest. Semifinalists will refine their solar solutions for the chance to win cash prizes and support vouchers. Additionally, 10 teams will receive $10,000 for winning the Power-Up Contest, which seeks to support promising new and diverse teams.
The $1.4 million American-Made Solar Data Bounty Prize came to a close this week as five teams were named winners. The datasets acquired during this competition will help bridge the gap between available data and ongoing research and development initiatives seeking to improve the accuracy of photovoltaic (PV) system modeling. Those interested in accessing these newly public datasets can register for a virtual tutorial on March 13 to learn more.
The future of community solar looks bright with these innovators at the helm! DOE named the 25 teams competing in the Community Power Accelerator Prize Round 2. The teams will win $50,000 each and advance to Phase 2 of the prize. During the next phase, competitors will dive deeper into their proposed project portfolios with instructor-led courses and hands-on technical assistance.
Don’t forget to participate in these funding opportunities, prizes, and solicitations:
- Solar District Cup Class of 2024 One-Semester Division – Student teams can apply to participate in the winter/spring division of this collegiate design competition by January 25.
- Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS) 4 Funding Opportunity – Diverse teams of researchers from a variety of social science disciplines can submit mandatory concept papers until January 30.
- Solar Manufacturing Internship for Leaders in Energy (SMILE) Program – Undergraduate students from minority serving institutions can apply to SETO’s SMILE Program until February 1 for the opportunity to intern at companies in SETO’s portfolio for 10 weeks this summer.
- Hands-On Photovoltaic Experience (HOPE) Workshop – PhD students and professors in PV can apply for the 2024 workshop through February 15.
Some Light 🌞 Reading
Solar energy is so much more than just rooftop panels! Learn more about building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), a set of emerging solar energy applications that replace conventional building materials with solar generating materials in various parts of a structure. BIPV works in several different ways and has many benefits for the structures that use it.
DOE Seeks Information on Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (sCO2) Power Cycles for Concentrating Solar-thermal Power (CSP)
DOE seeks feedback on research, development, and demonstration opportunities to enable near-term deployment of sCO2 -based turbomachinery for CSP plants. sCO2 turbine power cycles are smaller than conventional turbomachinery technologies, so they convert solar thermal energy to electricity more efficiently and reduce the cost of CSP technologies. Submit your responses by January 31.
More than 160 communities in the United States now use Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+), a free, online software platform for local governments that standardizes, streamlines, and automates the solar permitting process. The platform has helped local governments approve more than 32,800 projects, saving more than 33,000 hours of permitting staff time without sacrificing safety or code compliance.
Are you a student, researcher, or professional with a passion for solar energy? You can join SETO in advancing solar technologies and deployment through the Science, Technology, and Policy Fellowship! Selected participants will play an integral role in designing and implementing new initiatives to make solar energy more affordable and reliable. Applications are due January 15!
There’s still time to compete in the 2024 EnergyTech University Prize. This collegiate competition challenges student teams to develop and present business plans that leverage emerging energy technologies. There is also a $25,000 bonus prize on the line for business plans about the performance, affordability, reliability, and value of solar technologies. Student competitors can bring their remaining questions to the final informational webinar on January 23. Student teams must submit a 200-word idea summary by February 1.
DOE is seeking local organizations with experience engaging underserved communities and promoting environmental, climate, and energy justice on clean energy solutions for the Community Energy Innovation Prize. Winning organizations can receive up to $4.9 million for community-led projects in the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track and up to $2.1 million in the Manufacturing Ecosystem Track. Phase 1 applications for the two tracks are due February 2.
Various days in January | Virtual
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in collaboration with DOE, is hosting a series of virtual listening sessions to facilitate conversations about the benefits and challenges of increased clean energy siting on agricultural land and in rural communities. Register for one of the four sessions:
- For Government Permitting and Policy Representatives – January 12 | 12:30 p.m. ET
- For Agricultural Producers – January 16 | 10 a.m. ET
- For All Stakeholders and the Public – January 16 | 2:30 p.m. ET
- For Rural Electric Coops and Clean Energy Developers – January 17 | 3 p.m. ET
February 5-8 | Arlington, VA
Join DOE’s Grid Modernization Initiative and Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response at this summit to learn about opportunities to engage with DOE-led efforts that are modernizing the future power grid and enabling a more resilient, secure, and equitable energy transition.
February 14 | 12 p.m. ET | Virtual
Join the NCSP virtually to connect with others in the community solar industry and learn how community solar can deploy benefits and deliver impact at scale.
February 27-29 | Lakewood, CO
Join the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s annual PV Reliability Workshop where experts convene to discuss the latest findings in PV reliability. Submit your presentation and register to attend.