The Incubator program provides early-stage assistance to help startup companies cross technological barriers to commercialization while encouraging private sector investment. Since the program was launched in 2007, more than 100 startup companies have received awards to participate in the Incubator program, working to develop and launch transformative photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, grid integration, system installation, and soft costs products and services.


The Incubator program takes an all-inclusive approach to significantly lower the total installed cost of solar energy systems. By taking breakthrough innovations and putting them through a rigorous de-risking process, Incubator allows entrepreneurs to focus on rapid commercialization. Early-stage Incubator assistance enables startup businesses to cross critical technological barriers that the investment community is unable to address. Once these key risks are addressed, the startup businesses are ideally suited for private follow on funding and success.

In 2018–2020, SETO conducted a rigorous analysis to assess the impact of the Incubator program on the likelihood of its awardees later raising follow-on funding. SETO published the findings in March 2022—read the full report.


The Incubator program launched as a standalone, recurring funding program for the first nine rounds. It was later rolled into larger funding programs. You can see all incubator projects below:

Learn more about SETO's manufacturing and competitiveness research and view all current and past funding programs.