Solar Snapshot: : New SolarAPP+ Prize, Solar Prize Winners, and Funding and Fellowship Selections

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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, 45 seconds

Funding Opportunities and Prizes

Win Cash Prizes for Your Solar Tech Innovations

There’s still time to toss your hat in the ring for Round 6 of the American-Made Solar Prize. $4 million in cash prizes will be available to competitors that advance innovations in U.S. solar hardware and software technologies and address challenges to rapid, equitable solar energy deployment. Sign up to compete by October 6 at 5 p.m. ET!

Apply to Compete in the Sunny Awards

The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar (The Sunny Awards) will recognize community solar projects and programs that increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities. Up to $100,000 in prizes and several special recognition awards will be shared with prize winners. Applications are due by October 7 at 5 p.m. ET.

New Prize Program to Streamline Solar Permitting

Counties, cities, and incorporated towns and villages in the United States can apply to the American-Made SolarAPP+ Prize to win $15,000 for adopting SolarAPP+, a tool developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to automate the solar-permitting review process. Apply before November 4, 2022 and implement SolarAPP+ by April 27, 2023.

SolarAPP+ Prize

Meet the Winners of the Inclusive Solar Outreach Awards

DOE announced the first-ever winners of the American-Made Inclusive Solar Outreach Awards for their excellence in strategic, effective, inclusive, and meaningful communication to diverse audiences. SETO also released the Best Practices Guide for Inclusive Solar Energy Communications as a tool for those looking to expand adoption of low-cost solar power and solar careers in underrepresented communities. 

Inclusive Solar Outreach Awards with logo

Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (CSP) Funding Selections, Roadmap, and Request for Proposals (RFP)

SETO has announced selections for the FY22 CSP Research, Development, and Demonstration funding program! $24 million was awarded to projects that developed CSP technologies for carbon-free industrial processes and next-generation plant designs. DOE released a roadmap to guide research and deployment of heliostats, mirrors that follow the sun and concentrate sunlight in CSP plants. NREL issued a $3 million RFP to help expand U.S. expertise in heliostats. Responses are due November 8, 2022.

RE+ 2022 Spotlight 🌟

SETO is back from RE+ 2022, a U.S. clean energy industry conference, and what an exciting four days we had in Anaheim, CA!

Winners Announced for Solar Prize Round 5

SETO’s Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus announced the five winners of the American-Made Solar Prize Round 5! DOE awarded $500K each to two teams in the hardware track, $200K each to two teams in the software track, and $100K to a software team for expanding solar access to underserved communities.


Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) Workshop

SETO’s Michele Boyd and Ammar Qusaibaty hosted a workshop on the first day of the conference, giving attendees a “First Look at DOE’s i2X 5-year Strategic Roadmap.” Industry experts provided feedback and helped shape a practical roadmap for improving interconnection procedures nationwide.

Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV): Beyond the Shingle Workshop

SETO’s Dr. Jennifer DiStefano and Dr. George Stefopoulos hosted a workshop to discuss and collect feedback on the current challenges and opportunities of BIPV. Experts presented on the solar and buildings industries and findings from DOE’s previous research.

Some Light 🌞 Reading

Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship Selections

The next cohort of the Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship has been selected! This fellowship program 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.

Get to Know Solar Justice & Workforce Leader, Nicole Steele

Nicole Steele is the program manager for SETO’s workforce and equitable access team. She recently sat down with SETO’s director, Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus, to talk through her career journey, discuss the exciting work she is doing at DOE, and contemplate her hopes for the future of solar energy for all.

Proposals Requested to Accelerate Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Technologies

As part of the CdTe Accelerator Consortium, NREL is seeking project proposals to accelerate the development of CdTe technologies by lowering the cost and increasing the efficiency of thin-film solar cells. Between four and ten awards will be available, each ranging from $75K to $150K per year. Learn more and apply!

CSP Desalination Success in Hawaii

Thanks to $2 million in SETO funding, Trevi Systems was able to successfully integrate its carbon-free desalination system in Hawaii using heat from a CSP plant. Learn more about this CSP and desalination success!

Upcoming Events

Panel: Women in Cybersecurity – Critical Infrastructure: Building a Resilient Grid

October 3 | 4 p.m. ET
SETO’s Dr. Marissa Morales-Rodriguez will participate in a panel hosted by Women in Cybersecurity. The event will focus on understanding risks to the grid from the national perspective, the defender's perspective, as well as actionable steps that can be taken to ensure its resiliency.

The Energy Conversion Congress & Expo (ECCE) 2022

October 9-13 | Detroit, MI
Join SETO staff at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ ECCE 2022, an electrical and electromechanical energy conversion conference. Don't miss SETO’s Dr. John Seuss who will be speaking on two panels!

Workshop: Clean Energy on Mine Land for the Western U.S.

October 11-12 | Golden, CO
Register for this webinar by September 30 to learn about the clean energy demonstration program on current and former mine land, which seeks to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of carrying out clean energy projects on these lands. An additional workshop is scheduled in late October.

Workshop: Open-Source Software (OSS) – Building Community Engagement for Lasting Impact

October 12 | Albuquerque, NM
SETO will host a workshop focused on reaching and engaging with contributors to OSS on DOE-funded projects. Attendance will be limited to 50 in-person attendees! Please send your name, organization, and email address to to register for the in-person event. Sign up to attend virtually.

Webinar: Perovskite Photovoltaics (PV) in the US Solar Future: A Perspective from SETO

October 20 | 11 a.m. ET
Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education fellow, Tim Siegler, will present SETO’s perspective on halide perovskite PV commercialization at this webinar hosted by U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites.

Products and Publications

In Case You Missed It

Webinar: Reaching for the Solar Future — How the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Impacts Solar Deployment and Expands Manufacturing

SETO experts discussed the IRA’s impact on the future of solar deployment and manufacturing.

Read About Solar Energy’s Role in Building a Resilient Grid

SETO Deputy Director Garrett Nilsen explains in PV Magazine why solar energy has a critical role in ensuring that our nation’s electrical systems are prepared to deal with any disruptions so that communities are not left in the dark.

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