SETO Newsletter: 2020 Funding Opportunity; Strengthening the Solar Workforce

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Solar Energy Technologies Office


Top News: New year, new funding opportunity.

The U.S. Department Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) has funding available for innovative, promising projects. We look forward to highlighting this research in our quarterly stakeholder webinars. We just had our third, and our fourth is on the calendar. All this work means SETO has a job opening. Got initiative? Apply. You could help manage some workforce projects.

These stories and more in this edition of the SETO newsletter.

Coming Soon: New Funding  

On December 19, 2019, SETO issued a notice of intent to award funding to projects that will keep decreasing solar costs, further cut costs in photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies, enable solar-plus-storage, enhance cybersecurity protections, increase manufacturing, develop solar-powered microgrids, and site solar with agriculture. Stay tuned for details.  

Putting Initiatives to Work

Part of the SETO FY2018 funding program is focused on expanding the solar workforce—providing training, education, and networking and job opportunities—and preparing them to work on an increasingly modern electric grid. Find out how these eight workforce initiatives projects are contributing to this goal, helping the young, the underemployed, military veterans, Native Americans, and other populations find their way to rewarding solar industry careers.

SETO Quarterly Webinar April 2020

A Good Connection: SETO Stakeholder Webinars

The SETO quarterly stakeholder webinars are a great way to learn and ask questions about our work. On January 23, 2020, the office held its third one, discussing the 2019 project selections, the 2020 funding notice of intent for new projects, solar manufacturing, and collaborative teams. If you missed it, don’t worry: You can download the slide presentation. Register today for the next stakeholder webinar, on April 23, 2020, at 1 p.m. ET.

SETO Needs a Program Manager

Not everyone can successfully manage a team and be a part of it at the same time. But if you can, and you have a degree in physical science or engineering, we want to hear from you. SETO’s strategic analysis and institutional support team—which supports the development and dissemination of analysis, tools, and data resources related to the cost and value of solar technologies, both on their own and as they integrate with other technologies on the grid—is looking for a program manager/supervisory general engineer. Read more about this position and apply.

Decisions, Decisions: A New Energy-Planning Tool  

There’s a new data-driven online platform designed to help state and local decision makers understand the different ways they can meet their energy goals. Brought to you by eight U.S. Department of Energy technology offices and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE), now in beta, integrates dozens of distinct sources of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and, soon, sustainable transportation data and analyses. Contact with questions or feedback, and download this fact sheet to learn more.

Shedding Light: The State of the Solar Union

Want numbers? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s annual utility-scale report is out, featuring extensive analysis—of technology trends, the prices of installed projects and power purchase agreements, operating costs, capacity factors, and the levelized cost and market value of solar. Information on solar-plus-storage projects are included, too. For quarterly industry updates, NREL is on the case. The most recent report was released in November 2019, chronicling domestic and worldwide supply and demand, module and system prices, business trends, and more.


Distributech International 
January 28-30 | San Antonio, TX
On the first day of this annual transmission and distribution event, you can find SETO Systems Integration Program Manager Guohui Yuan at the session “ComEd’s Bronzeville Community Microgrid: Lessons Learned from Experience,” discussing this project in Chicago, which was awarded under the Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV (SHINES) funding program.

National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) Policy Outlook Conference and Innovation Summit 2020 Energy
February 4-7 | Washington, D.C.
SETO Director Becca Jones-Albertus will join state and federal energy policymakers and private-sector leaders at this summit, to present the solar office’s research and innovation priorities for the coming year. Discussions at this summit will identify the investments necessary for reliable and affordable grid, transportation, and buildings systems.

The Eleventh Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT 2020)
February 17-20 | Washington, D.C.
At ISGT 2020 on February 19, catch SETO’s Systems Integration Program Manager Guohui Yuan on the panel “Lessons Learned, Practice, and Methodologies for Renewables Integration and Grid Resilience using DERs and Networked Microgrids.”

SETO in the News

Solar Photo of the Week

Sunnyside Ranch Community Solar Array

The Sunnyside Ranch Community Solar Array, a 1.8-megawatt project in Carbondale, CO. Photo by Dennis Schroeder. Click the photo to download it.

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SETO is part of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.