Energy Department Announces SunShot Funding at Solar Power International

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Energy Department Announces SunShot Funding at Solar Power International

Earlier this week, the Energy Department announced more than $102 million in solar research and development projects and funding opportunities at the Solar Power International conference in Anaheim, CA.  As one of the largest solar funding announcements ever released by SunShot, these research and development projects aim to improve solar panel efficiency, bring cost-saving technologies to market, and lower the soft costs of going solar. SunShot revealed 22 new awards, including projects from PREDICTS 2 that focus on improving hardware and degradation rates and reducing risk in long-term PV performance; projects from CSP: APOLLO that address the technical challenges found in sub-components of a CSP plant; and projects in SPARC designed to give local governments technical assistance to boost local solar markets. Five finalist teams were announced for the SunShot Prize competition to reduce the amount of time it takes to go solar from several months to just seven days. Finally, two new funding opportunities were announced: the first strives to improve PV module performance, reliability, and manufacturability, while also advancing next generation PV concepts. Apply for the PV R&D funding opportunity. The second new funding opportunity supports the development of new solar tools, technologies, and services that can swiftly enter the solar marketplace. Apply for the Technology to Market funding opportunity. Read the Department of Energy press release and the White House fact sheet detailing this news.

Vice President Biden announced $102 million in funding for SunShot Initiative research and development projects at the 2015 Solar Power International conference. 

Solar Decathlon Competition Heats Up

The 2015 Solar Decathlon kicks off on Oct. 8 in Irvine, CA. This nine-day competition challenges collegiate teams from around the world to build creative, sustainable home designs. At the competition, student teams will reveal the energy-efficient solar-powered homes they have been designing and building for the past two years. These beautifully designed houses will be on display and available for visitors to tour throughout the competition. The Solar Decathlon is an educational effort, aiming to raise attention throughout the United States that a sustainable lifestyle is not out of reach. The competition also helps to build a workforce ready to address one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century: reducing harmful carbon pollution that causes global climate change. Since the biennial competition began in 2002, many former participants have gone on to pursue careers in clean energy and sustainable housing. Learn more about the competition.

A rendering of Yale’s 2015 Solar Decathalon submission.

Work for the SunShot Initiative

The SunShot Initiative has two open job opportunities – a program manager and a technology manager in the systems integration subprogram. The program manager will manage all awards within the subprogram, establish program objectives, and supervise a staff that provides scientific, engineering, and technical support to senior-level office directors in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Apply for the program manager position. The technology manager will evaluate the progress of research awards and develop plans to advance research and development efforts with the solar industry and universities. Apply for the technology manager position. Both job postings close on Monday, October 12, 2015.

Loan Guarantees for Distributed Energy Projects

At the National Clean Energy Summit in Nevada, President Obama announced that the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) will make up to $1 billion in loan guarantees available to help support distributed energy projects. As a part of the president’s Clean Power Plan, the available funds are designed to encourage the development of clean energy technologies and can be used to support commercial-scale distributed energy projects like rooftop solar with storage and new smart grid technologies. LPO has initiated the process to increase the loan guarantees available under the Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects solicitations and has issuedguidance for potential applicants that detailing the various types of distributed energy projects and financial structures LPO will consider. Learn more.

19 Catalyst Finalists Announced

SunShot announced the finalists of the Catalyst prize program as they enter the prototyping phase of the competition. Selected based on their ability to create business solutions that tackle solar energy deployment challenges, solar winners include: Bright Harvest Solar, Energy Equity, Hot 4 Solar, MapMySolar, MySunBuddy, RE-volv, SolarBook, Solar Action Network, Solar Doctor, Solar Land Solutions LLC, Solar Merchant, SunSwarm, Tangerine+, Learn more about the winners and this stage of the competition.

IRS Ruling for Community-Shared Solar Federal Tax Credit

The IRS has ruled that an investor-owned community solar project qualifies for the 30 percent federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). In a letter, the IRS declared that a solar investor can claim the 30 percent ITC – about $2,600 of the investor’s original $8,700 investment – for purchasing a share of an off-site Vermont solar farm. While this letter cannot act as a legal precedent for all community and shared solar participants throughout the country, this decision may indicate that the IRS will consider future cases, which could help to expand the reach of community and shared solar.

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