SETO Newsletter: Solar Desalination Prize Launches Round 2; Solar Prize Finalists; Upcoming Webinars

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Solar Energy Technologies Office


What's Inside: This edition of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) newsletter shares recent announcements; upcoming eventswebinars you may have missed; and more.

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Estimated read time: 3 minutes and 25 seconds.



DOE Announces Finalists for Solar Prize Round 4 

On April 9, DOE announced 10 finalists in the $3 million American-Made Solar Prize Round 4 competition. Each team earned $100,000 in cash and $75,000 in technical vouchers to develop their solar innovations. The finalists will compete for the $500,000 grand prize at a demo day this fall.

Solar Desalination Prize Launches Round 2 

DOE announced $5 million in funding for the second round of the American-Made Solar Desalination Prize, and eight semifinalists awarded $250,000 in cash from the first round. Applications for Round 2 of the competition are due by July 15 at 3 p.m. ET.

Solar Desalination Prize

Upcoming Events & Webinars

Streamlining Solar Permitting with SolarAPP

April 29 | 2 p.m. ET
SETO will host a webinar discussing the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP) tool with President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association Abigail Ross Hopper.

SETO Opportunity Showcase

April 22 | 2:30 p.m. ET
Students and faculty of historically Black colleges and universities are invited to join us for an informational session and showcase of our office’s work and opportunities. We will discuss our solar energy research and development initiatives in engineering, physical and social sciences, and more. Attendees can ask questions to learn more about professional development and funding opportunities.

Solar District Cup Student Presentations

April 25 | 12-6 p.m. ET
Hear from college students from around the country who have competed in the Solar District Cup Class of 2021.They will present their energy system designs to a panel of judges. Each of the 35 finalist teams were assigned to a district in collaboration with three district use case partners: The City of Denver/Auraria Higher Education Center, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Winners from each division will be selected.

Solar District Cup Division Winners Announcement and Pitch Championship

April 26 | 11 a.m. ET and 2 p.m. ET
DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power Alejandro Moreno will announce the winners of the Solar District Cup collegiate competition at 11 a.m. ET. Later, at 2 p.m. ET, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Acting Assistant Secretary Kelly Speakes-Backman will announce one Project Pitch Champion out of three student teams who will present their solar-plus-storage system designs to a public audience for voting.

In Case You Missed It

100% Clean: How DOE’s Solar Investments Will Help to Achieve Ambitious Decarbonization Goals  

On March 25, DOE’s Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced $128 million in new solar energy initiatives, including a $25 million Generation 3 CSP power plant. SETO Director Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus sat down with Secretary Granholm and EERE’s Acting Assistant Secretary Kelly Speakes-Backman for a webinar discussing future decarbonization goals. 

SETO Photovoltaics and Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Funding Opportunity Webinar 

Last week, attendees joined DOE’s webinar on its $40 million photovoltaics and concentrating solar-thermal power funding opportunity. Your letters of intent are due April 26 by 5 p.m. ET.

American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize Webinar  

DOE hosted an informational webinar for its new $3 million American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize competition. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and the first deadline is in June.

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