Following the appropriations battles on Capitol Hill this summer, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has again begun to issue funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for innovative energy research and development (R&D). In the last two weeks, the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) opened three new FOAs targeting solar energy technology development. The first step to applying to these FOAs is preparing a concept paper of approximately 4-6 pages, which will provide applicants with immediate feedback on the competitiveness of their project concepts. What follows is an overview of these new solar technology FOAs followed by some general applicant guidance derived from our experience working with these programs.

Advanced Power Electronic Design for Solar Application

This FOA aims to enable significant reductions in the lifetime costs of power electronics (PE) for solar photovoltaics as well as improve grid resilience, reliability, and security via advanced control and system integration.

  • Topic areas:
  1. Lower costs of residential, commercial, and utility-scale solar PV inverter/convert solutions.
  2. Develop innovative modular, multi-purpose solar PV PE designs that offer enhanced services for improved lifetime value and lower grid integration cost

Approximately $20 million available for 10 to 15 awards ranging from $0.5 million to $3 million

  • Key dates:
  • Concept papers due October 12th @ 5pm ET
  • Full applications due December 15th @ 5pm ET

For more information and to apply online, visit the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange.

Generation 3 Concentrating Solar Power Systems

This FOA aims to fund applied R&D to enable the reduction of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) generated by concentrating solar power to 6¢/kwh or less without subsidies.

  • Topic areas:
  1. Integrated Gen 3 systems, which entails developing, designing, constructing, and testing an integrated thermal system
  2. Individual component development, which includes developing a component-level technology or engaging in research and analysis into one or more of the potential Gen 3 integrated thermal systems

Approximately $62 million available for 8 to 12 awards ranging from $0.5 million to $35 million (varying by topic area)

  • Key dates:
  • Concept papers due November 3rd @ 5pm ET
  • Full applications due January 19th @ 5pm ET

For more information and to apply online, visit the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange.

Solar Desalination

This FOA seeks novel technologies or concepts using solar thermal energy to assist in the desalination process, which will reduce the levelized cost of water (LCOW) through reducing the levelized cost of heat LCOH, increasing the energy efficiency for thermal desalination processes, and reducing the overall capital and integration costs for solar thermal desalination.

  • Topic areas:
  1. Innovations in thermal desalination technologies
  2. Low-cost solar thermal energy
  3. Integrated solar thermal desalination systems
  4. Analysis of solar desalination

Approximately $15 million available for 7 to 10 awards ranging from $0.5 million to $5 million (varying by topic area)

  • Key dates:
  • Concept papers due December 4th @ 5pm ET
  • Full application due March 16th @ 5pm ET

For more information and to apply online, visit the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange.

We encourage applicants to begin outreach to strategic partners, including DOE National Laboratories, as soon as possible. Indeed, DOE likes to fund projects that support their labs, and such partnerships can add credibility and increase the odds of success. We also encourage applicants to carefully review the solicitation’s strategic objectives; an application must be well-aligned with these programmatic objectives to be competitive. Lastly, Holland & Knight’s Government Energy Finance Team is always available to assist companies throughout all stages of the application process.