New $30m US fund for solar research projects

A $30 million (£19.7m) programme to develop new cost-effective solar energy technologies is soon to be launched in the US. The US Department of Energy announced the fund from the […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A $30 million (£19.7m) programme to develop new cost-effective solar energy technologies is soon to be launched in the US.

The US Department of Energy announced the fund from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will be made available to engage the nation’s top scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to research and develop new solar technologies.

The programme seeks to develop two distinct technology options to deliver low cost and high-efficiency solar energy on demand. The first approach will develop advanced solar converters that turn sunlight into electricity for immediate use, while also producing heat that can be stored at low cost for later use – expected to be more efficient than PV or concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies.

The second approach will develop hybrid solar storage systems that accept heat and electricity from variable solar sources to deliver electricity when needed.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said: “ARPA-E’s new program will leverage the ingenuity of America’s best and brightest to develop technologies that are critical to the continued growth of the solar industry. As the President made clear in his plan to cut carbon pollution, energy innovations like these are a critical contribution to ensuring America’s future national, economic and environmental security.”

To date, ARPA-E has provided a total of $770 million (£505m) fund for 285 projects across 33 states.

The US Department of Energy recently announced funding for small commercial businesses to implement energy efficiency improvements and loan guarantees for low emission fossil fuel projects.