The US Department of Energy announced up to $20 million in funding towards early stage research and development of solar power electronics technologies.
The funding will help nine projects to come up with solutions to address challenges associated with solar photovoltaic (PV) reliability.
The funding will be provided on a cooperative agreement basis, not as grants, to projects implementing research and development over a three year period.
Projects including Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will have to provide 20% of the programme’s total costs to receive the funding.
The funding will be used to cut down the cost of installing and maintaining solar systems as well as the costs of integrating solar systems with the main grid.
The research projects will help achieve a goal set by the Department of Energy to cut the cost of electricity for a solar system in half by 2030.
Advancing power electronics will help grid operators to rapidly detect and respond to problems, protect against physical and cyber vulnerabilities, and enable consumers to manage electricity use, according to a statement.
Advanced power electronics will also simplify integration of solar PVs with energy storage controls.
Daniel Simmons, principal deputy assistant secretary for the office of energy efficiency and renewable energy, said: “There is remarkable potential for power electronics technologies to improve the reliability and flexibility of solar energy on the grid.
“These projects represent a critical step in exploring the potential grid services such advanced technologies can provide.”
Other projects to benefit from the funding include:
- Flex Power Control, Inc. – Encino, California
- University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, Arkansas
- University of Maryland, College Park – College Park, Maryland
- University of Texas at Austin – Austin, Texas
- University of Washington – Seattle, Washington
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Blacksburg, Virginia