As part of the fourth installment of the Photovoltaic Technology Incubator program, the U.S. Department of Energy is seeking project proposals from companies to invest up to $11 million in funding for solar energy technology development and commercialization. The program, which is subcontracted through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, aims to shorten the timeline for companies to transition prototype and precommercial PV technologies into pilot and full-scale manufacturing.
This iteration of the program has one key difference compared to previous versions: it offers two tiers of projects, tied in to different parts of the research and development value chain.
Tier 1 efforts will receive up to $1 million each through 12-month phased subcontracts and focus on accelerating the development of innovative PV module-related technologies to the prototype stage. DOE said it anticipates selecting 4-6 Tier 1 projects for awards.
Tier 2 plans will receive up to $4 million each through 18-month phased subcontracts and focus on shortening the timeline for companies to transition innovative lab-scale and precommercial prototypes into pilot and eventually full-scale manufacture. Two to three Tier 2 project awards are likely to be granted, according to the agency.
The PV Incubator program, which allows awardees to draw on NREL’s program management and technical expertise, has already helped more than two dozen U.S. small businesses to accelerate prototype and precommercial technologies toward pilot and full-scale production, including Abound, CaliSolar, PrimeStar, Innovalight, SolFocus, SoloPower, 1366 Technologies, and Microlink.
A Web conference about the solicitation will be held Aug. 18; deadline for submissions is Sept. 16.
For more information about the latest PV Incubator program, click here for the latest request for letters of interest posted on the “Business Opportunities” portion of NREL’s Website.