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Cleantech SBIR: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The best-kept funding secret for small businesses?

Could your firm use $2.1 - 3.2 million? Apply by December 15, 2014!


The federal government supports research at thousands of small innovative businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. SBIR is a competitive program that links government agencies' needs and missions with funding for the development and commercialization of new ideas and innovative research by diverse small business.

DOE-SBIR provides funding to small businesses using a funding ladder similar to that of cleantech investors with $150,000-$225,000 at Phase I; $1 million-1.5 million at Phase II; and Phase III (not-set-aside funded) at up to $4.5 million.

"America's business success has occurred because we have so many people with specialized knowledge who are willing to put their money, time and resources on the line for ideas."
— Robert Schiller, NY Times


Small businesses must begin the application process for a DOE's SBIR grant by submitting a Letter of Intent. Only then may they apply for a Phase I ($150,000 to $225,000) grant. Only Phase I grantees may apply for a Phase II ($1 million to $1.5 million).

DOE's SBIR grant application process starts with a Letter of Intent (LOI), which eligible businesses must file by December 15, 2014. Such businesses must file an LOI to be eligible to submit a full application for a Phase I feasibility grant of up to $225,000. Phase I awardees can then apply for a more substantial Phase II development grant of $1 million to $1.5 million.

Starting with the FY 14 Phase II Release I (FOA 1019), DOE SBIR allowed “sequential Phase II applications” for an additional round of Phase II funding as authorized by the 2011 SBIR Reauthorization Law.  In the case of DE-FOA 1019, Phase II awardees that had completed cycle 30 and 31 under DOE-SC topics could apply for an additional Phase II sequential grant. There are two types of such sequential grants, Phase IIA and Phase IIB. The IIA grants continue the current research, whereas IIB grants move the research into commercialization, possibly with a slightly different technical focus. In FY 2014, Phase II Release II (DE-FOA-0001072), EERE opted to accept on Phase IIB applications from cycle 30 and 31 completed applications. These applications will be competing with regular (initial) Phase IIs.

One major mission of the SBIR program is to foster the participation of underserved populations in science and technology. Within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), a new effort is being made to support the participation of woman- and minority-owned businesses' participation in clean energy technology (CleanTech) so they can to grow their small businesses and take their technology to the next level.

If you are applying for the first time, find out if you're eligible.

As you prepare your application materials, please note application deadlines and other dates to remember along with linked background materials:

  • Topic release: October 27, 2014
  • Informational Webinar on Topics: November TBD, 2014
  • Funding Opportunity Announcement: November 24, 2014
  • FOA Webinar: December TBD, 2014
  • Letter of Intent deadline: December 15, 2014
  • Application (requires LOI) deadline: February 3, 2015

If you already have a Phase I SBIR grant, find out your options.

If you are finishing your Phase II SBIR grant and wondering what to do next, find out your options.


FY 2014 Phase II Release 2+ EERE Awards

The EERE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) team has recommended that 14 Phase II proposals be awarded.  Although most of the awards are from EERE’s part of the Release 2 Solicitation, two are from the Broad Based Solicitation (Release 3) and one is EERE’s first “sequential” (4 year) Phase II award.  Women-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged firms continue to be strongly represented among the selectees.

FY 2014 Phase I Release 2 EERE Awards

The EERE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) team has recommended that 40 Phase I proposals from EERE’s part of the Phase I Release 2 Solicitation be awarded. These 40 awards would represent a diverse group with 11% from underrepresented states, 10% from socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses, and 8% from woman-owned business.  This group also includes the first ever “Technology Topic Opportunity” award where the topic is based on DOE laboratory intellectual property rather than on a program goal.  As such it is a true Technology to Market award.

FY 2014 Phase II Release 3 Awards

The EERE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) team has recommended that 17 Phase II proposals from EERE’s Broad Based Solicitation be awarded. These 17 awards represent the best of the nearly 1,000 ideas submitted for the FY 2012/13 Broad Based Topic Solicitation. That solicitation (also known as “Release 3”) was an experiment begun by EERE Acting Assistant Secretary Henry Kelly in 2012 after his six-city nationwide small business "listening tour." The intent of the Broad Based Topic solicitation was to ask for a broad—almost wide open—set of solutions to the most challenging problems faced by the EERE Tech Offices.