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Homegrown Solar

White House announces $45 million for domestic components, agrivoltaics, photovoltaics

On July 6, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced planned investments of $45 million, including $18 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to support pilot manufacturing of solar components "that can contribute to a domestic manufacturing sector capable of meeting the Administration’s solar deployment goals without relying on imported products," per an press release.

The funding will also support the development of new dual use solar technologies such as agrivoltaics and building-integrated photovoltaics, to create new markets for American products. "Agrivoltaics" is a relatively new term used to denote land or projects designed for dual use of solar and agriculture.

"[The] Investing in America agenda has led to a surge of solar manufacturing announcements and has created thousands of good paying, union jobs in solar deployment,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With these innovative, made-in-America technologies, the [current administration] is powering the clean energy transition, lowering electricity costs for hardworking Americans, and protecting the future for our children from the impacts of the climate crisis.”

Dual-use PV is a type of PV application where PV panels serve an additional function besides the generation of electricity. Dual-use technology like agrivoltaics, BIPV, floating PV, and vehicle-integrated PV, creates opportunities to develop domestically made products capable of expanding PV markets, as well as reducing reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By integrating solar energy systems into existing landscapes, dual-use PV has the potential to minimize land-use concerns.

There have been 63 domestic manufacturing announcements across the solar supply chain since the beginning of the current administration, including more than 40 of which have been announced since August 2022. As detailed in a recent DOE report, domestic manufacturing of the components that make solar modules is key to achieving a clean grid. Establishing a more diverse set of solar manufacturers in the United States creates jobs and spurs economic activity, while also building workforce technical expertise and capability, simplifying shipping and logistics, and reducing supply chain insecurity.

  • Fund up to 12 projects to help establish a network of manufacturers across the domestic solar supply chain focused on polysilicon production, silicon ingots and wafers, solar cells, glass and other module components, and associated manufacturing equipment.

  • Fund projects that will aim to open new markets for the emerging dual-use PV sectors, in particular agrivoltaics, building-integrated PV, floating PV, and vehicle-integrated PV.

  • Create opportunities to develop domestically made products capable of expanding PV markets and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, through dual-use technologies.

An informational webinar will be held on July 12 at 4 p.m. ET. Mandatory concept papers are due by September 27, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.

As part of its ongoing commitment to building out domestic solar manufacturing, DOE also recently:

  • Announced its intention to release a new funding opportunity of up to $36 million for research and development projects to advance thin-film solar technologies like perovskite and cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV.

  • Announced $52 million for 19 selected projects, including $10 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to strengthen America’s domestic solar supply chain, and $30 million in funding for technologies that will help integrate solar energy into the grid.

  • Launched the American-Made Solar Prize Round 7 – a $4 million prize program designed to spur innovations in U.S. solar hardware and software technologies.

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