It takes star power to deploy sun power, and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) awardees have it. In 2018, 10 of them received special recognition for their work in the solar industry. These awardees represent universities, utilities, private companies, and trade associations, proving that solar is progressing across the industry spectrum. Austin Energy had a particularly bright year: Its project under the Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV (SHINES) program received three awards. Check out these changemakers:
- Arizona State University photovoltaics (PV) researcher Mariana Bertoni received the 2018-19 Joseph C. Palais Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award.
- Austin Energy received Greentech Media’s Grid Edge Innovation Award for its distributed energy resource management system. It was also named Public Power Utility of the Year by the Smart Electric Power Alliance, and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce presented the utility with the HID Global Innovation Award.
- Commonwealth Edison received the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies Achievement Award for its Bronzeville Community Microgrid project.
- GridMates, a winner of the Energy Department’s 2015 Catalyst Energy Innovation Prize, developed technology that Direct Energy implemented to win the Underserved Markets Award in Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative's Best Practices Awards.
- The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which partnered with co-ops to deploy solar projects under the funding program called Solar Utility Networks: Replicable Innovations In Solar Energy (SUNRISE), was a finalist for the 2018 SEPA Power Player Awards in the “Innovative Partner” category.
- Sunfolding received the Best Venture Award at the Industry Growth Forum hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center for its work scaling up manufacturing and assembly in the solar industry.
Four awardees are young solar professionals who made it onto Renewable Energy World’s Solar 40 Under 40 list:
- Amanda Bybee, CEO of Amicus O&M Cooperative, was recognized for her work providing PV operations and maintenance services.
- Nate Hausman, project director at Clean Energy States Alliance, was recognized for his participation in the Solar Energy Innovation Network, which supports the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in its efforts to reduce soft costs.
- Jason Kaminsky, chief operating officer of kWh Analytics, was recognized for developing software specially designed to support data standardization and reduce solar soft costs.
- Steph Speirs, co-founder and CEO of Solstice, was recognized for her work expanding community access to solar energy.
The office extends its appreciation to all of its awardees for their performance and continuing dedication to advancing solar energy technologies.