As part of the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, on April 8, 2011, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced approximately $170 million in available funding over the next three years to support a range of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology development. Close to $40 million will be awarded to support the integration of solar energy onto the electric grid. This project will be known as the Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (SEGIS) – Advanced Concepts. The funding will promote a smarter grid, supporting projects focused on improved energy storage technologies and better system functionality, high voltage systems that reduce the overall installed costs associated with balance of systems components costs for installations and projects focused on technologies like micro-inverters that are capable of harvesting more energy from the sun.

Additionally, projects funded will demonstrate the feasibility of these new technologies in use and will directly support the objectives of the SunShot Initiative, which has a goal to reduce the total costs, including installation of solar energy systems by 75 percent to roughly $1 per watt.

The figure below demonstrates the possibility.

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There are two topics that may be submitted under this FOA: 

  • Topic 1: Smart-Grid Functionality
  • Topic 2: Using Power Electronics to Address Balance of System Costs

Preliminary applications are due May 9, 2011.