Federal DOE Appropriations
Federal appropriations for solar energy-related programs at the Department of Energy (DOE) have been critical to catalyzing technological innovation, lowering the cost of solar components and systems, and overcoming market barriers. Continuing to provide resources for DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office will help drive new solar products to market, creating jobs and expanding the renewable energy industry.
Throughout the appropriations process, SEIA actively works with the White House and members of Congress to increase funding for DOE's solar programs, including:
Solar Energy Technologies Office Programs
- Photovoltaics - SETO supports the early-stage research and development of photovoltaic (PV) technologies that improve efficiency and reliability, lower manufacturing costs, and drive down the cost of solar electricity. The program funds innovative concepts and experimental designs across a range of materials that have the potential to make solar energy among the least expensive forms of energy available by reaching a levelized cost of energy of $0.03 per kilowatt-hour.
- Concentrating Solar Power -SETO supports research and development of concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies that reduce the cost of solar energy. CSP systems can supply solar power on-demand through the use of thermal storage, helping to address grid integration challenges related to the variability of solar energy and enabling solar-generated heat to be stored until electricity is needed, even after the sun sets. Reflecting this increased value of dispatchable solar, the 2030 target for CSP peaker plants with less than six hours of energy storage is $0.10 per kilowatt-hour, and the target for CSP baseload plants with a minimum of 12 hours of energy storage is $0.05 per kilowatt-hour.
- Systems Integration - SETO supports early-stage research that advances the reliable, resilient, secure, and affordable integration of solar energy onto the U.S. electric grid through its systems integration subprogram. The systems integration subprogram collaborates with other program offices as part of the Department of Energy’s Grid Modernization Initiative crosscutting research efforts to ensure our country’s grid is capable of introducing much more solar generation.
- Soft Costs - SETO’s soft costs subprogram works to address challenges associated with non-hardware costs of solar and remove market barriers to the adoption of solar energy technologies throughout the United States. The soft costs subprogram works in the following strategic areas: networking and technical assistance, data analysis, business innovation, and training.
- National Labs - For decades, the Energy Department’s 17 national laboratories have served as leading institutions for scientific innovation, tackling the world’s biggest scientific challenges. SETO partners with the national labs and its researchers to develop innovations that lower the costs of solar energy. Using world-class facilities, researchers address complex questions about the performance and cost of solar energy technologies, translating basic science to innovation.