Washington, DC - On Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the topics for the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) funding program for FY 2021. Through SBIR/STTR, U.S. small businesses are encouraged to engage in high-risk, innovative research and technology development with the potential for commercialization.

Small businesses play a major role in spurring innovation and creating jobs in the U.S. economy. SBIR/STTR enables DOE to achieve its research and development goals through R&D funding to small businesses. SBIR/STTR provides funding two phases: Small businesses can receive up to $200,000 in Phase I to prove the feasibility of an idea; successful awardees can then receive up to $1.1 million in Phase II for prototype development.

DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office will host an informational webinar on Thursday, November 19, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the Phase 1 solar topics below. Register now.

DOE intends to fund projects that advance a broad range of early-stage ideas under the following topics:

  • Floating Solar-Powered Aeration Systems
  • Solar Systems Resilient to Weather-Related or Cyber Threats
  • Innovation in Solar Aesthetics for Residential Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
  • Commercial and Industrial Solar Systems
  • Agricultural Solar Systems
  • Components for Generation 3 Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (Gen3 CSP) Thermal Transport Systems
  • Affordability, Reliability, and Performance of Solar Technologies
  • Conductivity-Enhanced Materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric and Thermal Applications (CABLE): Electrical Connections for PV Modules and Systems Subtopic

Two additional technology transfer opportunities are available, which are designed to transfer a patented technology from a National Lab to a small business for commercialization: 

  • Method for Mechanical Load Testing of PV Modules with Concurrently Applied Stressors and Diagnostic Methods – An opportunity for a non-exclusive license to commercialize a new system developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that tests the durability of PV modules via simultaneous application of light, heat, moisture, system voltage, and mechanical stress.
  • Nanocomposite Barrier Films for PV Applications – An opportunity for companies to license a new, patented thin-film coating developed by Sandia National Laboratories that can be used as an encapsulant for PV module assemblies and as a barrier coating in other PV applications.

Mandatory letters of intent are due January 4, 2021, at 5 p.m. ET. Learn more about the solar topics, and stay tuned for the funding opportunity announcement in the coming weeks.