Solar Snapshot: Small Solar Business Selections; SolSmart Program Updates; Application Deadlines

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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, 2 seconds

Funding Opportunities and Prizes

Apply for Funding to Study Agriculture and Solar

The Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS) funding opportunity will award $8 million in funding for projects that examine how the co-location of agriculture and solar energy can scale up to provide new economic opportunities to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry. Submit a mandatory letter of intent by June 1 at 5 p.m. ET.

Funding Opportunity for Foundational

Moment to Shine: Solar Communications Awards Deadline

Solar communicators: the last day to apply for DOE’s Inclusive Solar Outreach Awards is June 10 at 5 p.m. ET. The goal of the program is to recognize and share best practices in solar-focused communications campaigns that engage diverse and/or underrepresented audiences.

Small Solar Businesses Awarded Funding

SETO awarded 16 small solar companies $200,000 each through the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program. The companies will now work to prove the feasibility of their ideas for a chance to earn up to $1 million in follow-on funding to continue developing their innovations.

Expanding Solar Deployment in Underserved Communities

DOE selected the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and the International City/County Management Association to manage and expand SolSmart, a program that supports and recognizes municipalities, counties, and regional organizations for their efforts to reduce non-hardware costs and expand access to solar energy. SolSmart will add new areas of focus around solar + storage, low- and moderate-income solar financing, and other strategies to accelerate deployment. The updated program has a goal to designate 500 communities over the next five years, at least 40 percent of which will be in underserved communities.

Projects Selected to Develop Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (CSP) Technologies

SETO announced it awarded three projects $5 million under the Fiscal Year 2021 Photovoltaics (PV) and CSP funding program. The projects will advance technologies that help reduce costs and enable long-duration solar energy storage and carbon-free industrial processes in the United States.

Some Light 🌞 Reading

Using Solar as an Educational Tool in Oklahoma

Find out what happened when the Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, a member of DOE’s National Community Solar Partnership, built a solar array next to a highly-trafficked interstate highway.

Oklahoma Electric Cooperative's Solar Park

Photo credit: Burns Thornton/OEC

Forecast Says: Solar Power

Grid operators and utilities need accurate predictions of how much solar energy to expect on a given day. The Solar Forecast Arbiter—developed by the University of Arizona and soon to be managed by the Electric Power Research Institute—is a cutting-edge platform that allows for the transparent and consistent analysis of solar forecasts by comparing them against a benchmark.

Modeling Resources for PV System Owners

Conducting modeling of new PV arrays is an important step in the development process because it helps predict how much electricity the array will generate and helps determine the system’s value. SETO’s new white paper discusses current and future model capabilities available to PV system owners.

Request for Information to Strengthen and Modernize the Grid

DOE seeks public input on the structure of a $2.5 billion formula grant program to strengthen and modernize America’s power grid against wildfires, extreme weather, and other natural disasters exacerbated by the climate crisis. The new program will assist states and tribal nations with projects that create good-paying jobs to deliver clean, affordable, and reliable energy. Submit comments via email to by June 2.

Request for Information on Long-Duration Energy Storage Initiatives

DOE’s Office of Electricity issued a Request for Information seeking public input on the structure of a $505 million long-duration energy storage initiative. This initiative will increase the availability of clean electricity whenever and wherever needed, and will support the ramp-up of affordable and reliable clean energy solutions. Responses are due June 16 by 5 p.m. ET.

SolarPACES Call for Awards

CSP researchers can apply for recognition at the Solar Power & Chemical Energy Systems conference. Applications for the Technology Innovation Award and Lifetime Achievement Award are due July 31.  

Keep Up with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy 

Get the latest news from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the nation’s leader in funding research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects that accelerate affordable and equitable clean energy solutions. Plus, subscribe to this email list to receive all of EERE’s funding opportunity and prize announcements.

Upcoming Events

Workshop: Addressing Solar Data Challenges for Utilities and Power Systems

June 1-2 | 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET
SETO and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are hosting a workshop to address challenges around the collection and integration of solar data from multiple sources. The two-day workshop will be held both online and in-person in Golden, Colorado.

Conference: Meteorology and Market Design for Grid Services Workshop

June 6-9
SETO Technology Manager Tassos Golnas will moderate discussions about SETO’s research on the improvement and adoption of probabilistic forecasts for solar irradiance and power, and their impact on power grid operations.

Products & Publications

In Case You Missed It

Solar Projects Among Selections in DOE Inclusive Energy Competition 

DOE awarded $3.6 million to 18 projects that are helping develop the next wave of diverse clean energy business owners, executives, and workforce that are creating bottom-up solutions for sustainable development. The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize is a new competition designed to support entrepreneurship and innovation in communities historically underserved in federal climate and energy technology funding.

Working Out the Details of a Circular Solar Economy

A new software model from NREL addresses what to do with solar modules at end-of-life, putting hard numbers toward different plans for a circular economy for PV module materials.

Winter Coats for PV Panels

A Sandia National Labs-led team has created a coating that makes photovoltaic (PV) panels more snow resistant and was recently featured in the “Best of 2021” issue of Advanced Materials Technologies. Developed at the University of Michigan, this innovative coating has been demonstrated to shed different forms of snow and ice from PV arrays, resulting in quicker power restoration after a snowstorm and a substantial increase in power generation over the course of a winter.

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