The United States Department of Energy (DoE) announced that it has awarded US$10 million to six new research and development (R&D) projects that will advance and develop concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. 

The projects will help expand thermochemical energy storage systems in order to help create more efficient energy storage systems while also using less storage material.

Ernest Moniz, the US Secretary of Energy said: “By improving energy storage technologies for concentrating solar power systems, we can enhance our ability to provide clean and reliable solar power, even when the sun is not shining.”

Six teams with members from universities, laboratories and research firms will test multiple chemical processes for CSP energy storage in an effort to develop more advanced technology.

The DoE also released a new report: “2014: The Year of Concentrating Solar Power”, which highlights the progress of five CSP projects in the US that have already started generating energy. These five projects, which are expected to become fully operational later this year, will provide a combined output of 1.26GW of electricity, almost quadrupling the CSP capacity in the country with the ability to power more than 350,000 homes.

The CSP market has struggled to gain traction in the United States over the years, as a February 2014 report by Lux Reasearch stated that CSP was set to shrink over the next four years due to the falling costs of PV modules.