The US Department of Energy (DOE) has today announced the availability of US$12 million to accelerate solar energy innovation that could help reduce manufacturing and installation costs for homes, businesses and utilities.
The new funding opportunity, which is part of the DOE's SunShot Incubator Program, expands on previous Solar Incubator rounds to support both hardware efficiency and soft cost reduction goals.
The DOE said the funding will also help companies transition lab-scale ideas to prototype phases or move early-scale projects to commercial launch.
The DOE's SunShot Incubator Program helps launch start-ups and new business units within existing companies to speed up solar technology development and deployment in the United States.
Since 2007, the programme has helped launch over 50 American small businesses, which have since attracted more than $1.7 billion in follow-on private sector investments. These growing companies have created more than 750 jobs across the US solar energy industry.
Since its inception, the SunShot Incubator program has invested in technological innovation for solar hardware. In 2011, the Department broadened the scope of the program to include projects that address soft or non-hardware costs such as installation, permitting, interconnection, and inspection, which can amount to up to 40% of the total cost of solar installation.