SETO Newsletter: Dozens of Projects Announced; Prize Competitions Progress; Input Requested

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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; spotlight featuresupcoming events; products and publicationsand more.

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Estimated read time: 4 minutes 47 seconds.



New Goal Set for Community Solar

The National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) has a new goal: to enable community solar systems to power the equivalent of 5 million households and create $1 billion in savings by 2025. To advance progress toward the goal, DOE is offering free, personalized technical assistance to NCSP members on a rolling basis. Check out NCSP’s new website to find out how you can participate.

Prize Alert: Solar Forecasting  

Coming soon! DOE will officially open the American-Made Solar Forecasting Prize soon, which is designed to develop and commercialize tools that predict how much energy solar power plants will generate. Up to five teams could win $50,000 in cash for showcasing the best-performing algorithm with the strongest commercialization plan, while five runners-up could have the chance to earn $25,000 in cash prizes. Register for the informational webinar on November 4, at 12 p.m. ET, to learn more. 

Solar Forecasting Prize competition

Selections Announced for Connected Communities   

DOE announced 10 selections for its $65 million Connected Communities funding program. Each project will work to demonstrate how buildings combined with distributed energy resources can serve as grid assets and will expand DOE’s network of grid-interactive efficient building communities.

Photovoltaics and Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Funding Program Selections

DOE announced 40 new projects for its $40 million Fiscal Year 2021 Photovoltaics (PV) and Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (CSP) funding program. These selections will advance solar, storage, and industrial technologies, including pumped thermal energy storage, panel reuse research, and more. 

Meet the New Solar District Cup Class

The Solar District Cup Class of 2021-2022 competition announced its 65 student-led teams from 64 collegiate institutions. The competition has student teams design and model renewable energy solutions for a campus or urban district. By solving real-world challenges, students gain valuable industry experience and prepare for careers in solar energy.

Solar District Cup

Meet the Quarterfinalists in the Solar Desalination Prize Round 2

DOE announced 12 quarterfinalists in Round 2 of the American-Made Challenges Solar Desalination Prize competition. Each will receive $50,000 in cash to advance to the next phase, develop their teams, and turn their ideas into fully operating solar-thermal desalination systems. 

Share Your Insights on Perovskite Solar Technologies

DOE issued a request for information (RFI) to gather input on efficiency, stability, and replicability performance targets for perovskite PV devices that could demonstrate technical and commercial readiness for future funding programs. The deadline to submit your response to this RFI is November 12, 2021, at 5 p.m. ET.

Request for Information: Manufacturing and Competitiveness Incubator

DOE issued an RFI to gather insight on the overall technical research, development, and demonstration opportunities in solar manufacturing and hardware product commercialization. Submit feedback for this RFI by November 7 at 5 p.m. ET.

Equitable Community Solar RFI Summary

This summer, DOE issued an RFI to gather insight on strategies for equitable community solar development. We put together a summary of responses, compiled the barriers, and proposed solutions to this RFI.

Request for Information: General Services Administration Proving Ground Program

DOE and the General Services Administration (GSA) have issued a request for information to identify technologies that help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from commercial buildings. This effort will support technologies and solutions that have potential for equitable, widespread adoption in the U.S. marketplace. Submit your proposals by December 7 at 5 p.m. ET.

Bottoms Up: Energy Secretary Visits Solar-Powered Brewery

Watch Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at Atlas Brew Works in Washington, D.C., for National Drink a Beer Day! The establishment is a solar-powered craft brewery, producing beer sustainably.

Spotlight: Be Revolutionary

American-Made Challenges

The American-Made Network wants you to join their team of creators, challengers, and innovators with your bold ideas. Watch their latest video calling all change-makers in the United States to lead the charge for our clean energy future.

Be Revolutionary

Upcoming Events

3 GW and Growing: Trends in the Community Solar Market Webinar

October 26 | 2 p.m. ET
Join NREL and Gabe Chan from the University of Minnesota for a discussion on the findings of Sharing the Sun: Community Solar Deployment, Subscriptions, Energy Burden, and Affordable Housing Benefits. The webinar will cover deployment trends across the United States, and review the policy and deployment status of programs targeting low- and moderate-income subscribers.

The Solar Workforce Awakens: Promoting Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in the New York Solar Industry

October 27 | 1 p.m. ET
SETO Senior Advisor for Equity and Workforce Nicole Steele will speak at this virtual career development webinar for the New York Solar Energy Industries Association. Panel discussions will include corporate human resources and hiring practices, mentorship, team building, active listening, and more.

DOE and SEIA Cybersecurity Summit: Securing Our Solar Future Today

November 3 | 1 p.m. ET
Join SETO and the Solar Energy Industries Association for a half-day webinar on the role of cyber and supply-chain security in the renewable energy sector, including legislative and regulatory status of key federal and state cybersecurity activities.

Solar Forecasting Informational Webinar

November 8 | 12 p.m. ET
SETO will host an informational webinar discussing the rules, structure, and goals of the American-Made Challenges Solar Forecasting Prize. The competition seeks solar forecast providers to develop tools that predict how much energy solar power plants produce.

Informational Webinar: GSA Request for Information

November 10 | 1 p.m. ET
This informational webinar will discuss the request for innovation from DOE and GSA to identify technologies that help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from commercial buildings. Register today to learn more about the topic areas, application process, and more.

Products & Publications

Learn more about SETO or DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.