Solar Snapshot: First Finalist for the Solar Desalination Prize Announced; New Solarpunk Scholarship Program Launched

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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; connect the dots on solar energy campaign resourcesand more.

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Estimated read time: 4 minutes, 56 seconds

What's New?

Solar Desalination Prize Finalist Selections

Congratulations to Katz Water Technologies for being the first team to advance to the fourth phase of the American-Made Solar Desalination Prize where they will build their system, demonstrate their operation, and validate key performance metrics. Katz’s distillation system uses solar-thermal energy instead of natural gas and has the potential to be portable, bringing fresh water wherever it’s needed. Stage four teams are awarded a cash prize of $750,000 and another $100,000 voucher.


SETO Awards $25,000 to EnergyTech University Prize Student Team

Congratulations to the student team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for being selected as the EnergyTech University Prize Solar Technology Bonus Prize Winner! SETO awarded the team $25,000 for their entry, which included a heliostat that utilizes new hardware and innovative mechanical advantage structures to reduce the cost of motors.


New Solarpunk Scholarship Competition Illustrates the Future of Solar Energy

The Solarpunk Futures: Illustrating the Future of Solar undergraduate scholarship competition offers students the opportunity to create solarpunk art that communicates the potential of SETO-funded technology and win up to $5,000 toward their next semester. Enter to compete by April 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Upcoming Deadlines

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

Some Light 🌞 Reading

Industry Input Requested on Solar Fuels Production

SETO is seeking information and feedback from solar industry professionals, researchers, and others on pathways to use concentrating solar-thermal power to produce liquid, solid, and gaseous fuels. Submit your response by April 14.

New Webpage on Dual-Use Photovoltaic (PV) Technologies

Check out our new webpage about dual-use PV technologies: from building-integrated PV to floating solar panels and vehicle-attached PV. Learn how SETO is working to bring dual-use PV innovations to doorsteps, vehicles, and rooftops across the country.


Reach Your Energy Resilience Goals through the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP)

Remote and island communities can apply to ETIPP to determine the role of renewable energy technologies in improving their energy resilience. Communities will achieve self-defined energy resilience goals using technical assistance from strategic energy analysts at national laboratories and regional partner organizations. Register for an informational webinar on April 11 at 3 p.m. ET.

New Online Resource for Finance Professionals on Residential Solar Lending

SETO just released a new resource for finance professionals interested in or just getting started in residential solar lending. The guide answers frequently asked questions on getting started, distinguishing types of solar financing, evaluating risk and creditworthiness, understanding technical information, and guidance on low-income household financing. It also lists free training opportunities, as well as resources for themselves and to share with clients.

Researchers Develop a Hybrid Solar Power Plant

Learn about a SETO-funded project which has developed a utility-scale system for a hybrid solar power plant that can operate with both alternating current (ac) and direct current (dc) lines. Considering that the majority of the U.S. power grid uses ac, this could be a game changer for distributed energy resources like solar arrays and batteries, which use dc.

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Interfacial Modeling Story

For more than 3 decades, PV researchers have relied on a specific chemical treatment to improve CdTe solar cells, without understanding fully how it functions. New National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) research reveals how a very thin layer in the solar cells is responsible and the finding holds implications for materials science well beyond CdTe solar cells.

Durable Module Materials (DuraMAT) 2022 Annual Report

As it enters its 7th year, the DuraMAT Consortium is launching new projects and pursing a goal of predicting—and then extending—the lifetimes of common and emerging materials in PV modules. The Consortium’s latest annual report recaps dozens of recently completed and ongoing projects and looks forward to new questions.

Products & Publications

Upcoming Events

Webinar: Innovative AgriSolar Design

March 23 | 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.

Systems Integration Webinar Series 2023

March 29 | 4 p.m. ET
SETO’s Systems Integration team is hosting a monthly webinar series. Register for their next webinar titled ‘Recent Advances in Experiments and Modeling of Grid-forming Systems.'

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power & Energy Society (PES) Grid Edge Technologies Conference & Exposition

April 10-13 | San Diego, CA
SETO experts will speak on panels and present at the upcoming IEEE PES Grid Edge Technologies conference in San Diego, California.

Connect the Dots on Solar Energy

Check out this and other featured content from our Connect the Dots on Solar Energy campaign:

Follow along with our Connect the Dots content on social media and join the conversation using the hashtag #ConnectSolar

In Case You Missed It

Webinar Recording & Slides: National Community Solar Partnership 2022 Annual Update Webinar

Webinar Recording & Slides: Community Power Accelerator Prize Informational Webinar

Webinar Recap: Mechanism Analysis of Dynamic Phenomena in Power Grids With High Penetrations of Inverter-Based Resources

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