Solar Snapshot: DOE Launches Community Power Accelerator™, Announces Sunny Awards Winners

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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; and more.

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Estimated read time: 4 minutes, 58 seconds

What's New?

NCSP 2023 Summit

2023 National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) Annual Summit Recap

It truly was community solar’s time to shine! The third annual NCSP Summit brought together community solar professionals and visionaries who showcased the substantial progress made in community solar deployment and the bright future for community solar with meaningful benefits. Check out the Summit’s big moments and major announcements below:

Community Power Accelerator

Launch of the Community Power Accelerator™

DOE announced a new initiative, the Community Power Accelerator™, to bring together investors, philanthropic organizations, developers, community-based organizations, and technical experts to get more equitable community solar projects financed and deployed. Register for an informational webinar on Feb. 1 at 12 p.m. ET to learn more about the Accelerator’s many programs and resources.

CPA Prize

New Prize Competition for Projects Increasing Equitable Access to Community Solar

DOE announced the Community Power Accelerator Prize: Accessing Capital to Deploy Equitable Community Solar, a $10 million competition that will provide pre-development funds to organizations to build the expertise, experience, and capacity required to develop community solar projects at scale.

The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar Graphic

Meet the Winners of the Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar

DOE announced five teams as Grand Prize winners of the Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar. These teams demonstrate best practices in increasing resilience, expanding community ownership, building a more equitable workforce, and leading community engagement.

Upcoming Deadlines

Don't forget to participate in these funding opportunities, prizes, and solicitations:

Some Light 🌞 Reading

Get to Know the Solar Office

Check out the latest installment of SETO’s LinkedIn Series, “Meet the Energy Department’s Solar Office,” featuring Nancy LaPlaca, our senior regulatory expert and engagement specialist on the communications team. Learn about what sparked Nancy’s passion for solar energy and how she has maintained that enthusiastic spirit for more than 20 years.

Nancy LaPlaca

Operant Networks Boosts Grid Defenses Against Cyber Threats

As more distributed energy resources (DERs) like wind and solar come online, our power grid becomes more complex and requires new approaches to protect it against cyber threats. Learn how SETO-funded Operant Networks is helping secure the clean energy grid with encrypted sensors that can securely communicate DER data to multiple parties at once.

Perovskite Startup Prize Final Countdown Contest is Open

It’s the final countdown! Your last chance to enter the American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize Countdown Contest is March 23. The competition accelerates efforts to develop innovative perovskite solar companies with the potential to manufacture commercially viable products in the U.S. Finalists of the Countdown Contest receive a $200,000 cash prize and are eligible to compete in the Liftoff Contest. Both new and previous applicants are encouraged to apply.

Updated Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

Check out the updated Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar resource for farms and agricultural businesses looking to solar to power their daily operations and diversify their revenue stream.

Farmers Guide

NREL researcher Jordan Macknick works with teams from University of Massachuselts (UMass) Clean Energy Extension and Hyperion on a photovoltaic dual-use research project at the UMass Crop Animal Research and Education Center in South Deerfield, MA. Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL.

DOE Launches Clean Energy to Communities (C2C) Program to Help Communities Meet Their Clean Energy Goals

DOE’s new C2C program connects local governments, electric utilities, and community-based organizations with DOE’s national labs to help them realize their clean energy goals. With three levels of assistance ranging from a few weeks to a few years, C2C supports communities in transitioning to clean energy systems that reflect their local priorities.

Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN) Publishes Trove of Resources for Communities

Eight teams in round two of SEIN provide blueprints, tip sheets, and other resources for communities interested in installing solar-plus-storage and harnessing the resiliency and economic benefits of solar energy.

New Analysis Reveals Surging Interconnection Costs and Demands

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s analysis of PJM Interconnection found substantial interconnection cost increases and tremendous growth of PJM’s interconnection project queue. Learn what factors are driving these increases and other trends in electric capacity queues.

Upcoming Events

Workshop: Situational Awareness and Real-time, Coordinated Control of High Penetration DER

January 30 & 31 | 11 a.m. ET
Join SETO awardee, Arizona State University, to learn about the results and products of their multi-industry research and development project on advanced technologies for extreme penetration of distributed solar PV in the distribution grid.

HelioCon Seminar Series: Solar Field for Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (CSP) Tower Technology 

February 1 | 11 a.m. ET
DOE’s Heliostat Consortium (HelioCon) is hosting a seminar on best practices and lessons learned in operational commercial CSP projects.

Community Power Accelerator Prize Informational Webinar 

February 1 | 12 p.m. ET
Attend this upcoming webinar to learn about the Community Power Accelerator Prize’s submission requirements, scoring criteria, and winner selection process. Participants will also have an opportunity to ask questions.

Clean Energy to Communities (C2C) Program Kickoff Webinar 

February 1 | 3 p.m. ET
Register for this webinar for an overview of the C2C program and to discuss in-depth partnership support.

Webinar: Made in the Shade: Growing Crops under Solar Panels

February 7 | 1 p.m. ET
Join the AgriSolar Clearinghouse for a webinar series on agrivoltaics, the co-location of solar and agriculture on the same land. Additional webinars are scheduled in the coming months.

Webinar: CSP Rankine Steam Cycle Reliability

February 9 | 7 p.m. ET
The Electric Power Research Institute is looking to engage with CSP plant operators and support organizations in this webinar about their preliminary work on the reliability of the Rankine cycle of CSP, which is part of a DOE project, CSP Process Enhancement and Refinement For Operations, Reliability, and Maintenance.

Clean Energy Technology Pathways: From Research to Commercialization Webinar

February 14 | 4 p.m. ET
Join SETO’s Marie Mapes in this webinar to learn about a recent analysis of four clean energy commercialization case studies, including thin film solar PV.

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