Solar Snapshot: Solar Installation Meets Automation; New Investments to Advance Heliostat Technology

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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: 3 minutes, 23 seconds

What's New?

New Prize Competition Seeks to Accelerate Heliostat Technology

The new American-Made Heliostat Prize is a $3 million competition seeking to reduce the cost of heliostats, which are mirrors that track the sun and reflect sunlight toward a receiver to generate concentrated solar-thermal power. Competitors will develop their innovations while advancing through three phases of the competition for the chance to win up to $580,000 in cash. Sign up to compete by August 31.

Heliostat Prize

Projects Selected for the Heliostat Consortium (HelioCon)

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced a $3.5 million investment in projects as part of HelioCon, a DOE program aiming to support research, development, validation, commercialization, and deployment of low-cost and high-performance heliostats with optimized operations and maintenance. Learn more about the selected projects and how they propose to advance heliostat technology.

Upcoming Deadlines

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

  • OPTIMA Funding Opportunity – Diverse teams of researchers, equipment manufacturers, software vendors, utilities, and independent system operators must submit concept papers by June 12 for the Operation and Planning Tools for Inverter-Based Resource Management and Availability for Future Power Systems (OPTIMA) funding opportunity.
  • Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship – Recent graduates and early- or mid- career energy professionals are encouraged to apply by June 12.
  • The 2023 Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar – Community solar projects and programs can apply by July 14.

Some Light 🌞 Reading

Putting Solar Energy Installation on Autopilot

SETO awardee, Terabase Energy, is transforming the traditionally manual processes of designing, delivering, and installing solar arrays. Learn how they are bringing automation to solar power plant installation, using robotic arms to lift heavy solar panels and connect them to solar trackers, saving time, energy, and money.


A rover brings solar panels to the Terabase Energy field factory site. Credit: Terabase Energy

New 48C Tax Credit to Spur Clean Energy Investments

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, in partnership with DOE, announced $4 billion in tax credits for projects that expand clean energy or critical materials manufacturing or recycling, with $1.6 billion set aside for projects in designated energy and coal communities. DOE will begin accepting applications later this month, with concept papers due July 31.

Products & Publications

Upcoming Events

Live Demonstration of the SolarAPP+ Platform

June 6 | 1 p.m. ET
Learn how communities can use the SolarAPP+ automated permitting software for residential solar-plus-storage projects at NREL’s live demonstration event.

Webinar Series: Building with Benefits for Equitable Community Solar

June 7 | 2 p.m. ET
The National Community Solar Partnership is hosting 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 their upcoming webinar, ‘Building with Benefits: Increased Resilience.’

NCSP Meaningful Benefits Webinar Series

Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) Meeting Series

June 7 | 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, ‘BPS Interconnection Cost Allocation: Perspectives and Options for Reform.’

Connect the Dots on Solar Energy

SETO is connecting the dots on the solar workforce. Learn about the vital role that the U.S. solar workforce plays in the transition to a clean energy grid and how SETO is working to support its development:

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.