Solar Snapshot: ☀️ Community Solar & Tech Innovation Spotlight; 2023 Solar District Cup 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; connect the dots on solar energy campaign resourcesand more.

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Estimated read time: 5 minutes, 19 seconds

Solar Spotlight

Ahead of Earth Day, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, and SETO Director, Becca Jones-Albertus, visited the D.C. Solar for All community solar site, where they announced several new solar energy investments to increase domestic solar manufacturing and recycling, strengthen the American clean energy grid, and accelerate community solar across the country.


Launch of the 2023 Sunny Awards

Secretary Granholm announced the launch of the 2023 American-Made Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar, which recognizes projects and programs that employ or develop best practices to increase equitable access to meaningful benefits of community solar. Register for an informational webinar on May 9 at 12 p.m. ET.

New Funding Seeks to Optimize Solar Energy Grid Integration

The Operation and Planning Tools for Inverter-Based Resource Management and Availability for Future Power Systems (OPTIMA) funding opportunity is looking for projects that will advance grid planning and operation tools. Register for an informational webinar, today, May 4 at 3 p.m. ET and submit a concept paper by June 5 at 5 p.m. ET.

Meet the Phase 1 Winners of the Community Power Accelerator Prize

25 competitors were selected to win $50,000 and advance to the next phase of the American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize, which is designed to expand a robust ecosystem of community solar developers that incorporate meaningful benefits into their projects nationwide.

CPA Prize Map

Projects Selected to Accelerate the Commercialization of Solar Technologies

SETO announced $24 million to fund 9 projects that advance innovative product ideas that can spur U.S. solar manufacturing, especially in cadmium telluride photovoltaics (PV).

New PV Recycling and Perovskite Research Projects Selected

SETO announced $28 million in funding for 10 projects that make PV more recyclable, reduce manufacturing costs, and advance the manufacturing of PV cells from perovskites.

What's New?

Meet the Winners of the Solar District Cup Class of 2023

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced the Class of 2023 winners in the Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition. Throughout the competition, student teams designed and modeled solar-plus-storage systems to meet the needs of a real-world district. See which teams were crowned the winners.


Upcoming Deadlines

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

Some Light 🌞 Reading

New Consumer’s Guide to Buying a House with Solar Panels

Thinking about buying a home with a solar energy system already installed on the roof? Powering your home with solar can help you save on electricity bills and be more energy independent. SETO has a new resource to help you make an informed decision.

Enhanced Modeling Protects Solar Panels from the Elements

Reinforcing solar panels against the elements is important to increasing their efficiency and extending their lifetimes. Learn how NREL has improved modeling to help researchers and industry personnel develop robust, durable solar panels that are also as thin, lightweight, and cost-effective as possible.

Map of Energy Communities Eligible for Tax Credit Bonus

The U.S. Department of the Treasury released guidance on the eligibility requirements for the Energy Communities Bonus Credit Program, which offers a 10% increase of the Investment or Production Tax Credits to brownfields, fossil fuel communities with high unemployment, and coal closure communities. Check out this map to see which communities qualify across the United States.

Products & Publications

Upcoming Events

OPTIMA Funding Opportunity Informational Webinar

May 4 | 3:00 p.m. ET
SETO is hosting an informational webinar to go over the rules and guidelines for the new OPTIMA funding opportunity.

The 2023 Sunny Awards Informational Webinar

May 9 | 12 p.m. ET
Join the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) at this informational webinar to ask questions and learn how to compete in the 2023 Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar.

Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) Meeting Series

May 11 | 2 p.m. ET
i2X is hosting a new meeting series, the Solution e-Xchange, to facilitate open dialogue across the U.S. electricity ecosystem on important interconnection issues. Join the upcoming session titled “Managing the Bulk Power System Interconnection Study Process."

Webinar Series: Building with Benefits for Equitable Community Solar

May 22 | 2 p.m. ET
NCSP is launching a webinar series to highlight best practices in developing community solar projects and programs that deliver meaningful benefits to subscribers and their communities. Register for the first webinar about the meaningful benefit of greater household savings.

Continuing Education Course: Community Solar Program and Subscription Design

May 23-24 | 12 p.m.ET
Learn and discuss the various elements of community solar program design, as well as ownership options relevant to municipal utilities in this new continuing education course presented in partnership with the American Public Power Association and NREL.

Webinar: AgriSolar in the Northwest

May 24 | 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.

Connect the Dots on Solar Energy

SETO is connecting the dots on the renewable grid, health, and the environment. Learn about solar energy’s role in decarbonizing the grid and the many health and environmental benefits awaiting consumers, communities, ecosystems, and economies nationwide:

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

In Case You Missed It

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