Solar Snapshot: New Funding for Community Energy Resilience; Apply for Solar Communications Award

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Solar Energy Technologies Office


What's Inside: Solar Snapshot, the newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), shares recent announcementsupcoming events; products and publicationsand more.

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Estimated read time: 5 minutes, 24 seconds

Some Light 🌞 Reading

New Funding Available to Improve Community Energy Resilience

The Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER) funding opportunity will award $25 million for projects that enable communities to utilize solar and solar-plus-storage to prevent disruptions in power and to rapidly restore electricity if it goes down. Diverse teams of universities, federally funded research and development centers, nonprofits, community-based organizations, utilities, state agencies, local governments, and solar developers are encouraged to apply. Register for an informational webinar on April 27 at 1 p.m. ET and submit a mandatory concept paper by May 26 at 5 p.m. ET 

Funding Opportunity for Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER)

Calling All Solar Communicators: Awards Program for Inclusive Outreach Campaigns

The Shine On Awards for Inclusive Solar Outreach will recognize communications campaigns that effectively reach diverse and/or underrepresented communities in solar energy. Community organizations, nonprofits, nonfederal government entities, communications agencies, and members of the solar industry are encouraged to apply. Learn more about contest rules and participant eligibility and apply by June 10 at 5 p.m. ET. There will be no monetary award.

American-Made Shine On Awards

Last Call to Apply for Perovskite Startup Prize

The deadline is April 28 at 5 p.m. ET for entrepreneurs to apply to the Perovskite Startup Prize and accelerate the development and manufacturing of perovskite solar cells. Competitors who advance to the next stage will receive a $200,000 cash prize.

Apply for Fellowship to Accelerate Clean Energy Transition

The Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship matches recent graduates and energy professionals with critical energy organizations, like public utility commissions, to tackle projects that will help decarbonize the U.S. power system, electrify transportation and industry, and make the power system more equitable and inclusive. Projects may address a wide variety of topics. Fellowship candidates and host organizations must apply by May 6 at 5 p.m. ET.

Submit Abstracts for SolarPACES 2022

Concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) researchers can attend the Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems (SolarPACES) conference in person this year! Industry, research, political and financing stakeholders, and experts around the world will gather and share insights into recent R&D activities and new developments in CSP technology. Attendees who wish to present must submit an extended abstract by May 6.

Communities Selected for Assistance with Clean Energy Transition

Twenty-two communities will receive support from DOE to create action plans that reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and provide long-term jobs and economic opportunity as part of the Communities Local Energy Action Program (Communities LEAP).

Communities Leap Map

Congratulations to Solar Forecasting Prize Winners

The results are in! Five winners and two runners-up were selected in the Solar Forecasting Prize. The winners received $50,000 and the runners-up received $25,000. These teams stood out from their competition for developing the best-performing forecasting models and strongest plans to accelerate the adoption of state-of-the-art solar forecasts.

Driving Solar Innovation Among Underrepresented STEM Researchers

DOE, in collaboration with the Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) STEM Research and Development Consortium, awarded $3.2 million for eight projects at seven MSIs through the new Science and Technology Research Partnership program. The selected projects span a wide array of solar energy technology research areas from photovoltaics (PV) and CSP technologies to increasing energy resilience and ensuring a just, clean energy transition.

Share Your Input on Building Energy Codes

DOE’s Building Technologies Office is seeking public responses to help drive the cost-effective implementation of building energy codes for improved efficiency and resilience. States, partnerships, alliances, and associations are encouraged to respond. Submit your response by May 20 at 5 p.m. ET.

EnergyTech University Prize Awards $25K to Students for Solar Business Plan

Nine student teams from across the country earned cash prizes for winning the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP), sponsored by the DOE Office of Technology Transitions. Team Solar Shepherds from Appalachian State University earned a $25,000 Technology Bonus Prize from SETO for its creative business plan around sustainable and fair agrivoltaic solutions to make the world’s energy transition equitable. Learn about the next round of EnergyTech UP.

Upcoming Events

Celebrate Clean Energy Innovators and Entrepreneurs at the American-Made Earth Day Celebration

April 22 | 12 p.m. ET
This Earth Day, join us as we honor the people and prizes supercharging the clean energy revolution and working toward a cleaner, brighter future for our planet! Featuring opening remarks from U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, the virtual event will include talks from key energy industry players, networking sessions, and exciting prize announcements.

Solar District Cup Project Pitch Championship

April 25 | 2 p.m. ET
The Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition’s Class of 2021-2022 finalists will deliver their pitches for the championship. Tune in to hear the presentations and vote for which team you think should go home with the Project Pitch Champion title!

Conference: Moving to a 3-D Energy Landscape

April 25 – April 28
SETO staff will present at the Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT) conference to promote research that decarbonizes, democratizes, and decentralizes electric energy grid technologies. Register for the conference to hear from Program Manager Guohui Yuan and Technology Managers Tassos Golnas and Bishnu Bhattarai about SETO’s work to advance grid modernization.

Data Validation for Hosting Capacity Analyses

May 10 | 12 p.m. ET
More states and utilities are adopting hosting capacity analyses as a means to streamline distributed energy resource growth. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council will present in-depth findings from a recent report to help communities ensure their data is accurate and trustworthy.

Products & Publications

In Case You Missed It

Webinar: National Community Solar Partnership: Getting to 5 Million Subscribers Webinar

Watch the recording of this event, in which NREL analysts explain community solar deployment data and the modeling on the market drivers that demonstrate how new National Community Solar Partnership initiatives will enable community solar to power 5 million households.

A Plan for PV Panels at End-Of-Life

SETO's PV End-Of-Life Action Plan outlines a five-year strategy to establish safe, responsible, and economic end-of-life practices for PV materials. SETO is funding research to make PV products longer-lasting, less energy-intensive to produce, and easier to recycle.

SETO in Print: “De-Risking Solar Receivers to Achieve SunShot Targets”

Matt Bauer, a technology manager on SETO’s CSP team, is published in a special issue of the scientific journal, Energies. Bauer reviewed technical requirements for solar receivers in CSP systems to demonstrate risk reduction.

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