solar panels on a school branded for the RACER FOA

Office: Solar Energy Technologies Office
FOA number: DE-FOA-002597
Link to apply: Apply on EERE Exchange
FOA Amount: $25 million

On April 12, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) announced the Renewables Advancing Community Energy Resilience (RACER) funding opportunity, which will award $25 million in funding for projects to enable communities to utilize solar and solar-plus-storage to prevent disruptions in power caused by extreme weather and other events, and to rapidly restore electricity if it goes down. 

Projects will foster engagement and ongoing communication among multiple stakeholders such as utilities, municipal planners, emergency responders, community groups, and others, especially in underserved communities located in areas vulnerable to extreme events causing frequent energy and power service disruptions. In addition, projects will develop and demonstrate rapid energy restoration technologies based on the community resilience plan in order to increase the durability of photovoltaic (PV) systems.

These research activities will help increase the resilience of energy systems, which will help meet the Biden administration’s goals for achieving a decarbonized electricity sector by 2035. As extreme weather events become more common and place undue stress on our electricity infrastructure, solar and other distributed energy resources can help communities rapidly recover.

Topic Areas

Topic Area 1: Innovative Community-Based Energy Resilience Planning – 6-8 projects, $500,000-1 million each

Projects will develop energy resilience planning frameworks at the community level through robust multi-stakeholder participation and collaboration. Projects can include the development and integration of new or existing metrics and preparedness and response plans. Based on the developed energy resilience planning framework, projects will identify locations where PV-plus-storage deployment can best support increased community energy resilience. 

Topic Area 2: Automation Strategies for Rapid Energy Restoration – 5-6 projects, $2-3 million each

Projects will develop and demonstrate sensors and communication technologies that enable rapid identification of available assets to re-energize a power system after an extreme event, including the design and integration of automation procedures that are assisted by distributed solar technologies to enable rapid recovery. Phase one will develop or refine a structured community energy resilience plan, including multi-stakeholder participation and collaboration, as described under Topic 1. Phase two will focus on technology development and demonstration.

Topic Area 3: Innovative Solutions to Increase the Resilience and Hardening of PV Power Plants – 2-3 projects, $1.5-3 million each

Projects will advance innovative approaches to PV system hardening, utilizing novel sensors, communications strategies, and data analytics to increase generation-side hardware resilience to minimize damage during these events.

Teaming Partner List

To facilitate the formation of teams, SETO is providing a forum where interested parties can add themselves to a Teaming Partner List, which allows organizations that may wish to apply to the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), but not as the prime applicant, to express interest to potential partners.

Under Topic Areas 1 and 2, active community-based stakeholders are required as project partners and should play a central role. More details can be found under Topic 1 and Topic 2 description. Teaming arrangements can include multiple stakeholders across academia, community colleges, industry, utilities, national laboratories (as appropriate), community groups and others to provide technical solutions. Community groups might include but not limited to civic leadership groups, community-based organizations, local non-profits, neighborhood associations, relevant finance and insurance providers, state and local government entities, relevant emergency management coordinators, local utilities and asset owners; local critical infrastructure managers, such as hospital administrators; solar/DER developers and technology providers, among others. 

Under all topics of this FOA, teams that include multiple partners are preferred over applications that include a single organization. Teams are encouraged to include representation from diverse entities, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) or Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), or through linkages with Opportunity Zones. To facilitate the formation of teams, SETO is providing a forum where interested parties can add themselves to a Teaming Partner List, which allows organizations that may wish to apply to the FOA but not as the prime applicant, to express interest to potential partners.

Download the Teaming Partner List (Excel file)

Any organization that would like to be included on this list should submit the following information in Excel format to SI.FOA.SETO@ee.doe.gov with the subject line “Teaming Partner Information”: organization name, contact name, contact address, contact email, contact phone, organization type, area of technical expertise, brief description of capabilities, and topic area.

Disclaimer: By submitting a request to be included on the Teaming Partner List, the requesting organization consents to the publication of the above-referenced information. By enabling and publishing the Teaming Partner List, EERE is not endorsing, sponsoring, or otherwise evaluating the qualifications of the individuals and organizations that are self-identifying themselves for placement on this Teaming Partner List. EERE will not pay for the provision of any information, nor will it compensate any applicants or requesting organizations for the development of such information.

Webinar

SETO hosted an informational webinar on April 27, 2022 to discuss the funding program and the areas of focus. Download the webinar slides (PPT).

Timeline

FOA Issue Date: 4/12/2022
Informational Webinar: 4/27/2022 at 1 p.m. ET
Submission Deadline for Concept Papers: 5/26/2022 at 5 p.m. ET
Submission Deadline for Full Applications: 7/25/2022 at 5 p.m. ET
Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications: September 2022
Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations: October 2022–January 2023

Additional Information