Solar Energy Technologies Office

The Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funds early-stage research and development in three technology areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), and systems integration with the goal of improving the affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit of solar technologies on the grid. Learn more about the office's work at the next SETO quarterly stakeholder webinar on December 17, 2020.

Solar Energy Technologies Office Newsletter

Solar Energy Basics

Research Areas

Photovoltaics
SETO supports PV research and development projects that drive down the costs of solar-generated electricity by improving efficiency and reliability.
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Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power
SETO supports CSP research and development to improve the performance, reduce the cost, and improve the lifetime and reliability of CSP technologies.
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Systems Integration
Systems integration research in SETO helps advance the reliable, resilient, secure, and affordable integration of solar energy onto the nation's grid.
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Soft Costs
Soft costs research in SETO addresses challenges associated with non-hardware cost components of a solar energy system.
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Manufacturing and Competitiveness
SETO supports solar manufacturing and competitiveness R&D to develop pathways to commercialization for disruptive innovation in the solar industry.
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National Laboratory Research and Funding
The Solar Energy Technologies Office partners with the national labs and its researchers to develop innovations that lower the costs of solar energy.
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News and Success Stories

Energy Department Announces $130 Million in Solar Technology Projects
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced selections for $130 million in new projects to advance solar technologies.
November 12, 2020
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Energy Department Announces Solar Desalination Prize Competitors
DOE announces quarterfinalists for Solar Desalination Prize, aimed at developing thermal desalination technologies to solve water challenges.
October 19, 2020
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Solar Energy Technologies Office Announces New Job Openings
Learn more about the open positions in the Solar Energy Technologies Office.
October 16, 2020
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DOE Launches Partnership Initiative to Strengthen Remote and Islanded Communities’ Energy Resilience
DOE launches new program to enable remote and islanded communities to plan for, withstand, and recover from energy disruptions.
October 15, 2020
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U.S. Department of Energy Provides $65 Million for ‘Connected Communities’ of Buildings Powered to Transform Electric System
DOE announces up to $65 million through its Connected Communities FOA to expand DOE's network of efficient building communities nationwide.
October 13, 2020
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EERE Success Story – The Plug-and-Play Device That Streamlines Solar Cleaning
In 2017, a company called Fracsun received $150,000 in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding for its idea for solar cleaning.
September 28, 2020
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Energy Department Announces Grand Prize Winners of American-Made Solar Prize Round 2
The Department of Energy announces the grand prize winners of the American-Made Solar Prize in its second round of the competition.
August 28, 2020
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Department of Energy Announces $20 Million to Advance Perovskite Solar Technologies
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $20 million in funding to advance perovskite solar photovoltaic technologies.
August 13, 2020
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Department of Energy Announces American-Made Solar Prize Round 3 Finalists and Launches Round 4
Department of Energy Announces American-Made Solar Prize Round 3 Finalists and Launches Round 4.
July 10, 2020
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Department of Energy Announces Winners of Collegiate Solar Competition
DOE announces winners of the Solar District Cup, where collegiate teams design innovative, cost-effective distributed energy systems for a district.
April 28, 2020
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Solar Energy Research Database
Learn more about active and inactive SETO-funded projects at national laboratories, state and local governments, universities, nonprofit organizations, and private companies in the solar energy research database.
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Blog Posts

Veterans Boost America’s Energy Workforce
The Department of Energy is committed to supporting and empowering American workers, especially servicemembers separating from active duty.
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The Road to Resilience with Rooftop Solar
What happens to the electricity in your home during a power outage when you have rooftop solar panels installed?
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Helping Drive Domestic Manufacturing
A top priority for EERE is supporting game-changing manufacturing innovations across multiple sectors, including American solar panel manufacturing.
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A Unique Heat Storage Technology Gathers Steam
An innovative system being developed at DOE's Argonne National Laboratory can quickly store heat and release it for use when needed.
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American-Made Network: Launching Innovations
One of the ways the Energy Department is driving innovation in the solar technologies is through prizes such as the American-Made Challenges.
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PV Cells 101, Part 2: Solar Photovoltaic Cell Research Directions
Part 2 of the PV Cells 101 primer, exploring new materials and cell designs that can improve conversion and performance.
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PV Cells 101: A Primer on the Solar Photovoltaic Cell
Part 1 of the PV Cells 101 primer explains how a solar cell turns sunlight into electricity and why silicon is the semiconductor that usually does it.
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New Solar Design Competition Announced: Solar District Cup
Universities and community colleges can join the inaugural DOE Solar District Cup, to re-imagine how solar energy is generated, managed, and used.
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Solar-Plus-Storage 101
This blog post will explain the terminology around solar-plus-storage, how many solar-plus-storage systems are in the country, and what they cost.
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Activating American Solar Movers and Makers
The solar industry is on the move—expanding into new states and creating new business opportunities across the country.
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