SETO Newsletter: Secretary Jennifer Granholm Joins Solar Webinar; Solar Prize Announcement

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Solar Energy Technologies Office


Top News: Clean Energy Goals; Solar Prize Round 4 Events; How to Streamline Solar Permitting

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) webinar will feature Secretary Granholm and a virtual technology tour; find out which teams will advance to the final round of the American-Made Solar Prize Round 4; sign up for a webinar on a new solution to high-cost solar permitting; and check out the presentations from our recent solar with storage and demand-response series.

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

DOE Secretary to Discuss Solar’s Role in a Clean Energy Future

Join DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Kelly Speakes-Backman, and SETO Director Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus for a webinar, “100% Clean: How DOE’s Solar Investments Will Help Achieve Ambitious Decarbonization Goals,” on Thursday, March 25, at 2:30 p.m. ET. We’ll go on a virtual technology tour and discuss solar’s role in creating a reliable, resilient, and carbon-free electricity grid. We’ll answer some questions at the end. Register for our webinar today.

SETO Webinar with S1 3-25-2021

One Click Away: Photovoltaics Research

Through SETO, DOE has funded hundreds of photovoltaics (PV) research and development projects to bring low-cost solar energy to rooftops across the country, support the U.S. electric grid, and combat climate change. Now you can learn more about the areas of research we focus on, whether it’s cell, module, or system design; energy yield; industry standards; or lengthening the lifespan of PV systems. Visit our PV research area webpage to find all our PV-related resources.

Mark Your Calendars: Solar Prize Round 4 Finalists

On Friday, March 26, at 1 p.m. ET, the 20 semifinalists in the American-Made Solar Prize Round 4 will showcase their innovations before a panel of expert judges at a demonstration day hosted by Carnegie Mellon University’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. After the judges make their decisions, join us as we announce the 10 finalists on Friday, April 9, at 12 p.m. ET. The finalists will receive $100,000 in cash and $75,000 in vouchers redeemable at the National Laboratories and other partner facilities and advance to the final round. Register for the showcase and the announcement of the finalists.

Streamlining Solar Permitting

The permitting process for solar installations is often time-consuming and costly. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP) tool aims to make it faster and easier. Learn how with Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and the SETO team for a webinar on April 29 at 2 p.m. ET. Sign up today.

New Report Suggests How to Improve the U.S. Grid

The Future of Electric Power in the United States,” a new report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, provides 40 recommendations to improve the understanding and evolution of the nation’s power system, including reforming the time-consuming electrical transmission planning and siting process. It identifies the social, technical, and economic driving forces that will determine how the grid evolves and calls for the creation of task forces and processes to facilitate technology innovations. Learn more about the report.

The Right Combination: Webinar Series Recap

Last month, over 600 researchers, utilities, and solar stakeholders attended our two-day webinar series on DOE-funded projects that integrate solar energy systems with storage and demand-response technologies. Awardees presented on a range of technologies, from inverter-based resources, like smart buildings and appliances, to utility communication and control systems. View the slides to learn more about the projects.

Shedding Light: Solar-to-Grid Report

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has released its “Solar-to-Grid: Trends in System Impacts, Reliability, and Market Value in the United States” report assessing how solar deployment affected the bulk power system in 2019. The report analyzes trends of the seven U.S. wholesale power markets and 10 utilities outside the independent system operator and regional transmission organization markets. It also highlights solar generation, reliability contribution, market value decline, overall competitiveness, and system impact. Learn more key findings from the webinar recording.


100% Clean: How DOE’s Solar Investments Will Help Achieve Ambitious Decarbonization Goals
March 25 | 2:30 p.m. ET
Register for this webinar featuring DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm, EERE Acting Assistant Secretary Kelly Speakes-Backman, and more as they discuss plans for a carbon-free electricity sector and other solar research priorities.

Conceptualizing Systems Cybersecurity Challenges for Rooftop Solar
March 25 | 12 p.m. ET
Join SETO systems integration technology manager Jeremiah Miller for this cybersecurity webinar hosted by the Sunspec and Sandia Cybersecurity Working Group.

Solar Prize Round 4 Demo Day
March 26 | 1 p.m. ET
Register for the showcase to watch the 20 semifinalists pitch their innovations to a panel of expert judges for a chance at $100,000 and vouchers.

Solar Prize Round 4 Finalists Announcement
April 9 | 2 p.m. ET
Join SETO to find out who the 10 Solar Prize Round 4 finalist teams are—they have a chance to win the $500,000 grand prize.

SETO Webinar on SolarAPP with SEIA
April 29 | 2 p.m. ET
Sign up for our SolarAPP webinar with SEIA’s Abigail Ross Hopper and learn how the program will help reshape solar permitting in the United States.

SETO in the News

Solar Photo of the Week

16.5-megawatt solar farm built in Oxford, MA

The final construction phase of a 16.5-megawatt solar farm built in Oxford, MA. Photo by Lucas Faria. Click the photo to download.

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