DOE Announces $71M to Advance American Solar Manufacturing

DOE Announces $71M to Advance American Solar Manufacturing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $71 million investment, including $16 million from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in research, development, and demonstration projects to grow the network of domestic manufacturers across the U.S. solar energy supply chain. The selected projects will address gaps in the domestic solar manufacturing capacity for the supply chain including equipment, silicon ingots and wafers, and both silicon and thin-film solar cell manufacturing. The projects will also open new markets for solar technologies such as dual-use photovoltaic (PV) applications, including building-integrated PV and agrivoltaics. These efforts complement and strengthen the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to rapidly deploy clean energy to help achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. These efforts advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 initiative, which set a goal that 40% of overall benefits from certain federal climate and clean energy investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building an American-made solar supply chain that boosts innovation, drives down costs for families, and delivers jobs across the nation,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to historic funding and actions from the President’s clean energy agenda, we’re able to deploy more solar power – the cheapest form of energy – to millions more Americans with panels stamped made in the U.S.A.”

Fostering Solar Innovation

DOE selected three projects for the Silicon Solar Manufacturing and Dual-Use Photovoltaics Incubator funding program which will support the development of technologies to bring silicon wafer and cell manufacturing onshore. This investment will enable new solar companies to prove their technologies with the goal of becoming eligible to apply for capital to scale-up manufacturing, accelerating their path to commercialization. Seven additional projects will advance dual-use PV technologies to harness their potential to electrify buildings, decarbonize the transportation sector, and reduce land-use conflicts.

The ten selected projects are:

  • Re:Build Manufacturing (Nashua, NH): $1.9 million
  • Silfab Solar Cells (Fort Mill, SC): $5 million
  • Ubiquity Solar (Hazelwood, MO): $11.2 million
  • Appalachian Renewable Power (Stewart, OH): $1.6 million
  • GAF Energy (San Jose, CA): $1.6 million
  • Noria Energy Holdings (Sausalito, CA): $1.6 million
  • RCAM Technologies (Boulder, CO): $600,000
  • The R&D Lab (Petaluma, CA): $1 million
  • Silfab Solar WA (Bellingham, WA): $400,000
  • Wabash (Lafayette, IN): $1.6 million

Advancing U.S. Leadership in Thin-Film Technologies

Thin-film PV technologies, such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), and perovskites have potential advantages over the current dominant silicon technology, such as less energy-intensive manufacturing, lower manufacturing costs, simpler supply chains, and greater lifetime energy yield. Of the eight projects DOE selected for the Advancing U.S. Thin-Film Solar Photovoltaics funding program, four will address opportunities to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and bolster the supply chain for CdTe systems. DOE’s Solar Photovoltaics Supply Chain Review identified CdTe as an opportunity to expand domestic production of solar panels. Improving the ability to use and recover materials efficiently when building and recycling panels is a promising approach to strengthen domestic CdTe PV competitiveness. Four other projects will prove out innovative tandem PV devices that pair established PV technologies like silicon and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) with perovskites, an up-and-coming thin-film PV technology that is nearing market readiness and could be manufactured in the United States. One project leverages the United States’ trade partnership with Canada to increase the supply of tellurium in the United States.

The selected projects are:

  • First Solar (Tempe, AZ and Perrysburg, OH): $6 million
  • Cubic PV (Bedford, MA): $6 million
  • Tandem PV (San Jose, CA): $4.7 million
  • Swift Solar (San Carlos, CA): $7 million
  • 5N Plus (Montreal, Canada): $1.6 million
  • First Solar (Tempe, AZ and Perrysburg, OH): $15 million
  • Brightspot Automation (Boulder, CO): $1.6 million
  • Tau Science (Redwood City, CA): $2.1 million

Learn more about the Solar Energy Technologies Office, the office’s strategy to build a robust domestic solar supply chain, and DOE’s Solar Photovoltaics Supply Chain report.

Selection for award negotiations is not a commitment by DOE to issue an award or provide funding. Before funding is issued, DOE and the applicants will undergo a negotiation process, and DOE may cancel negotiations and rescind the selection for any reason during that time. 

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