Washington, DC - The Solar Energy Innovation Network program is seeking applications for collaborative research projects to address challenges related to solar adoption in rural communities, multifamily housing, and commercial buildings.

The program, managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is in its second round and will accept applications through September 4, 2019.

The Innovation Network assembles teams of diverse solar stakeholders to research solutions using real-world data, and facilitate sharing and replicating those solutions. Teams are encouraged to include state and local governments, utilities, industry, regulators, nonprofits, and academics and address topics in the following areas:

  • Solar in Rural Communities – Analysis and testing to help cooperative utilities, counties, and other rural community stakeholders understand the potential for solar energy to improve energy affordability and resilience.
  • Commercial-Scale Solar – Research and analysis to address market barriers and reduce the costs of solar energy for multifamily housing, community solar projects, and commercial buildings, such as offices, warehouses, hospitals, retail stores, and college campuses. This market segment has been slower to adopt solar energy than others.

Both topics will also include solar combined with other technologies, such as storage, and in microgrids.

The selected project teams will work to address barriers to solar adoption through in-person meetings and targeted research and analysis over 15 months. These teams will be grouped based on common solar market challenges so they can exchange ideas and address similar questions. Teams will receive funding and access to technical expertise from the National Laboratories and other experts.

Round 1 topics focused on grid integration, resiliency, and reliability. See the results of Round 1 here.