The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) issued a notice of intent (NOI) to release a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) of up to $36 million for research, development, and demonstration projects on two major thin-film photovoltaic (PV) technologies. The FOA is expected to be released in September 2023 and is expected to be restricted to for-profit lead applicants. 

$20M will fund projects on industrial perovskite PV research and development to enable future commercialization by reaching specific thresholds of efficiency, long-term reliability, manufacturability, and economic viability. Quantitative guidelines within the NOI describe what a competitive application is expected to include for a given funding level. This information is being communicated through the NOI so potential applicants can take advantage of the intervening time before a FOA is released to identify and fill possible gaps in their capabilities. 

$16M will fund projects to advance cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV research, development, demonstration, and commercialization across the materials, equipment, installation, and performance monitoring supply chain to improve the competitiveness of the domestic CdTe PV technology industry.   

Download the slides from the informational webinar and view the recording (password: QgGtSKC8). 

Read the notice of intent for more information, including technologies of interest and expectations for applicants. Interested applicants can also sign up to join the Teaming Partner List. For updates on the status of the announcement, check SETO’s funding opportunities webpage.  

Webinar Q&A

Per page 13 of this NOI: “This FOA will encourage potential applicants to form partnerships with academia…”, academic institutes can be the member of the team led by an industry company. How will SETO enhance the participation of non-R1 universities that support training of the next generation U.S. PV task force who have been either pipelined to R1 universities and national labs as graduate students and/or post-docs or directly to U.S. PV industry?

This FOA will encourage potential applicants to form partnerships and teaming arrangements with universities, national laboratories, and other supply chain or ecosystem partners. Further details regarding Teaming Information will be released with the full FOA document. 

Will equal or greater priority be given to non-toxicity as well as efficiency in PV solutions in accordance with the UN sustainability goals?

Detailed selection criteria for a merit review will be released with the full FOA document.

Would fairly valued equipment use time towards the project be considered towards cost share requirements?

Details regarding specific cost share allowances will be released with the full FOA document.

Does the cost-share have to come from a funded collaborator/partner? Can an in-kind contribution towards the project by an external party be considered towards the cost-share requirements?

Details regarding specific cost share allowances will be released with the full FOA document.

Can a faculty member from a foreign university working at a US research institution under a sabbatical that is a sub-awardee to the for-profit lead organization be supported under this program?

Details regarding foreign national participation will be released with the full FOA document.

The guidelines for competitiveness at three funding levels mention efficiency and durability targets for minimodules over 25 cm2 area. Is this intended to mean a string of cells that have interconnects between them, or would it be satisfied by, for example, a single encapsulated full-wafer size cell that exceeds the specified area?

Single cell "module-level" requirements will be released with the full FOA Document.

Could you provide examples of the type and level of detail being looked for regarding the team qualifications and management requirements for each funding level (such as modern project and program management, quality systems, and so on)?

Complete team qualifications and management guidance for a merit review will be released with the full FOA document.