The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) recently announced an ambitious new target to cut the cost of solar energy by 60% within the next ten years, in addition to nearly $128 million in funding to lower costs, improve performance, and speed the deployment of solar energy technologies.
To that end, the DoE has allocated funding through its Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), to support advancing two materials used to make solar cells: perovskites and cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin films.
- $40 million for perovskite R&D: DoE is awarding $40 million to 22 projects that will advance perovskite PV device and manufacturing research and development—as well as performance through the formation of a new $14 million testing center to provide neutral, independent validation of the performance of new perovskite devices.
- $3 million Perovskite Startup Prize: This new prize competition will speed entrepreneurs’ path to commercializing perovskite technologies by providing seed capital for their newly formed companies.
- $20 million for CdTe thin films.
Additional funding was granted to various other directions for reduction of solar costs and general promotion of advanced solar technologies.
“In many parts of the country, solar is already cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels, and with more innovation we can cut the cost again by more than half within the decade,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This first burst of funding will help us add even more affordable clean energy to the grid, jobs to communities across the country, and will put us on the fast track toward President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.”
Lowering the cost of solar energy is essential to accelerating deployment and achieving President Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035. To reach that goal in the next 15 years, hundreds of gigawatts of solar energy need to be installed as much as five times faster than it is now. To that end, DOE is accelerating its utility-scale solar 2030 cost target by five years – setting a new goal of driving down the current cost of 4.6 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 3 cents/kWh by 2025 and 2 cents/kWh by 2030.
"To meet our bold zero emissions goals by 2035, we need to unleash major investment in solar energy and technologies,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “I am excited to see the Biden-Harris Administration and the Department of Energy grant the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this research and development funding today to help the Commonwealth scale up our clean energy deployment and innovation. This funding will be a bright spot for the Massachusetts clean energy economy and will help us lower costs, create jobs, and deploy more gigawatts of solar than ever before."
"To combat climate change, America must put clean energy within the reach of every household. Today's grant awards support research and development projects that will make solar panels more affordable and effective," said U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján. "I applaud the Department of Energy for making this strong investment in our energy future."
“As Chairwoman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, it is thrilling to see my constituents selected to advance technologies that will play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. Not only will these awards help the United States achieve the deep decarbonization needed to mitigate the growing impacts of climate change, but they will put many Americans in my district and around the country back to work in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic," said U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chairwoman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.