A Virginia startup is using federal grants to develop a device that will cut solar home installation cost while helping the local utility monitor and even control electricity generation from the roofs of its customers.
These early stage lab programs and prototypes could one day be the future of solar panels. Right now they’re hot areas of research.
Clean Power Finance is releasing a federally-funded survey to quantify the challenges solar installers face when they try to get all the necessary permits to construct solar electric systems and connect them to the local grid.
The path to winning over solar customers is through integrating data. San Francisco startup Genability began knitting together a collection of complex electric rates from utilities across the country, and its customers use the data to show how much could be saved by going solar.
Why can’t there be a solar panel rooftop system that works as easily as your TV: no professional installation, no permits, just plug it in and start it up?
DuPont announced on Monday that it has bought Innovalight, a Silicon Valley startup that makes silicon ink that solar-cell makers can use to improve the amount of electricity that the cells can squeeze out of sunlight. DuPont declined to disclose the purchase price.
The Department of Energy’s SunShot program, launched in February with the aim of driving the cost of installed solar power down to $1 per watt, has already handed out $27.3 million in grants to companies ranging from mainline materials makers like 3M to experimental solar startups like Stion and Solexant. Now DOE has announced another $112.5 million in grants over the next five years aimed at collaborations to find efficiencies and drive down costs across parts of the solar manufacturing chain. DOE gave $25 million apiece to two Bay Area groups — the Bay Area PV Consortium based at Stanford, and SVTC Technologies, which provides testing labs to the semiconductor industry. The biggest grant, $62.5 million, will go to the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium, a group managed by SEMATECH (Semiconductor Manufacturing TECHnology), which helped the U.S. recapture market share in the semiconductor space by helping companies share new manufacturing developments in the late 1980s. DOE’s announcement held up SEMATECH as an example of what it’s trying to do with solar PV manufacturing in the SunShot program.
President Obama unveiled his proposed budget Monday that calls for boosting funding to the Department of Energy by nearly 12 percent. The spending plan would focus on research and deployment of technologies he’s championed repeatedly: renewable energy, electric cars, biofuel, energy efficiency and nuclear.