Washington, DC - Three years ahead of schedule, the solar industry has achieved the SunShot 2020 utility-scale goal. With rising solar deployment, SunShot is laying the groundwork for the future with new funding programs – including power electronics, concentrating solar power (CSP), and—coming soon—solar desalination. The office is also looking for you to weigh in on industry needs for integrated solar data and analysis. These stories and more in this edition of the SunShot newsletter.

Thank you to all of the awardees and friends who stopped by our booth at Solar Power International (SPI) last week. It’s always great to see you!

Utility-Scale Solar Goal Achieved, Expanded Priorities for 2030

The Department of Energy made a big announcement at SPI last week—the solar industry has achieved the SunShot Initiative’s 2020 utility-scale goal of 6 cents per kilowatt-hour without subsidies. As SunShot continues to work toward the remaining commercial and residential goals, it already has its sights set on 2030 with a focus on improving grid reliability, resilience, and affordability.

Advancing Power Electronics Technology

A newly announced funding opportunity will help the industry develop technologies that improve the devices that link solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays to the electric grid. The Advanced Power Electronics Designs for Solar Applications funding program will develop new cost-effective inverter/converter designs that enable utilities to collect data on PV systems, better support voltage and frequency regulation, and reduce grid integration costs, enabling operators to pinpoint and regulate solar production levels. Mandatory concept papers are due on October 12.

Moving CSP Technology into the Next Generation

A new funding opportunity will work to make energy produced by concentrating solar power plants cost-competitive with fuel-based sources of energy by the end of the decade. The Generation 3 Concentrating Solar Power Systems (Gen3CSP) funding program will take successful, high temperature, lab-scale sub-component CSP technologies, develop them into integrated assemblies, and test these components and systems through a wide range of conditions. The first phase of the funding program will address gaps in technology pathways and eliminating risks, while the second phase will build a test facility where the most successful pathway can be further studied. Mandatory concept papers are due on November 3.

Solar Desalination Funding Planned

Later this month, the SunShot Initiative intends to release a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for solar desalination technology, which supports the development of early-stage technologies that can significantly reduce the costs of desalination powered by solar thermal energy. Rather than utilizing high-value electricity as an energy input, solar thermal desalination can achieve lower costs than currently available systems.

Request for Information: Solar Energy Technology Analysis & Data Needs

The SunShot Initiative has issued a request for information to gather insights about integrated data and analysis needs across the solar value chain. The goal is to better understand the information-related problems and questions that exist today for key solar stakeholders including manufacturers, project developers, financiers, engineering, procurement, and construction businesses, as well as state and local jurisdictions, researchers, analysts and others supporting the technological advancement and wide-scale adoption of solar technology. Responses are due October 6.

Start-up Success at Solar Power International

At this year’s SPI convention, the SunShot Initiative sponsored Start-Up Alley, which featured businesses that have received awards from SunShot's small business portfolio. These businesses are developing early-stage technologies aimed at lowering the cost of solar—from software solutions that address challenges in solar financing, grid integration, and customer adoption to hardware solutions to lower the cost of storage and grid integration. Participating companies received valuable feedback from the industry about their products and services.