Solar Manufacturing Incubator Funding Opportunity

Office: Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO)
FOA number: DE-FOA-0002609
Link to apply: Apply on EERE Exchange
FOA Amount: $27 million

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the Fiscal Year 2022 Solar Manufacturing Incubator Funding Opportunity, which will award $27 million for projects to accelerate commercialization of innovative product ideas that can increase U.S. domestic manufacturing across the solar industry supply chain and expand private investment in America’s solar manufacturing sector.

This funding program seeks to invest in innovative research, development, and demonstration projects that enable continued solar cost reductions, while developing next-generation solar technologies and boosting American solar manufacturing, especially in cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaics. These projects will support the scaling of affordable solar and facilitate secure, reliable integration of solar electricity into the nation’s energy grid to ultimately benefit the U.S. economy. 

SETO’s mission is to accelerate the development and deployment of solar technology to support an equitable transition to a decarbonized electricity system by 2035 and decarbonized energy sector by 2050. Achieving this goal will support the nationwide effort to meet the threat of climate change and ensure that all Americans benefit from the transition to a clean energy economy.

SETO expects to make between 6 to 17 awards under the Fiscal Year 2022 Solar Manufacturing Incubator Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), each ranging between $500,000 and $10 million. SETO seeks diverse entrepreneurs, small businesses, and larger for-profit entities to apply.

Prior to submitting a full application for this opportunity, a brief, mandatory letter of intent is due on Sept. 16, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Webinar

SETO hosted an informational webinar on Aug. 3, 2022 at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. View slides from the webinar.

Topic Areas

Topic Area 1: Product Development - $7 million for 5-14 projects

The goal of Topic Area 1 is to de-risk new technologies and/or manufacturing processes and bring them to a commercially-relevant prototype stage, while developing and validating a realistic pathway to a commercial success.

Successful applicants for this topic area will be companies domestically incorporated at the time of submission of the full application with an existing technology at the proof-of-concept stage. Through this award, the awardee will advance their technology to a manufacturing-relevant prototype made in a lab environment.

SETO is particularly interested in innovative technologies addressing the following market needs or technology gaps:

  • Advanced cadmium telluride photovoltaic module materials and manufacturing processes
  • Multi-use integrated photovoltaic systems (co-location of agriculture and photovoltaics; building integrated photovoltaics and PV building materials; floating photovoltaics; transportation-integrated and vehicle-integrated photovoltaics)
  • Photovoltaic emerging materials (perovskite technologies)
  • Next-generation power electronics based on silicon carbide and/or planar magnetics
Topic 2:  Demonstration of Cadmium Telluride Photovoltaic Technologies - $20 million for 2-10 projects

The goal of Topic Area 2 is to conduct pilot-scale testing and demonstration of products or solutions that can substantively increase the domestic manufacturing of CdTe photovoltaics. This includes demonstration of high-volume or high-throughput manufacturing processes for CdTe solar hardware or supply chain components that reduce energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions, and can be manufactured competitively in the United States; production of a sufficiently large number of CdTe modules for statistically robust field testing and validation; or demonstration of new CdTe hardware component(s) or novel system architectures in robust, commercially relevant pilot tests.

Successful applicants for this topic area will be established companies or startups incorporated in the United States with an existing technology involving CdTe whose technical functionalities have already been fully demonstrated and verified on a small scale and in a controlled environment.

Key Dates

FOA Issue Date: 

7/14/2022

Informational Webinar: 

8/3/2022 at 3 p.m. ET

Submission Deadline for Letter of Intent: 

9/16/2022 at 5 p.m. ET

Submission Deadline for Full Applications: 

10/3/2022 at 5 p.m. ET

Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments:

11/10/2022 at 5 p.m. ET

Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications: 

1/31/2023

Expected Date for Award Negotiations: 

May 2023

 

Additional Information

To make the sign-in process more secure, the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange (eXCHANGE) will soon be updated to integrate with Login.gov—a secure service used by the public to sign into participating government agencies. Beginning August 5*, all potential applicants and reviewers will need to have a Login.gov account to access eXCHANGE and apply to open opportunities. For more important information about this change, please read the MFA Quick Guide.

*Date is tentative and subject to change.