New Federal Funding Promotes Solar Reuse, Recycling, Manufacturing Technology

The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), has unveiled a slate of new initiatives and $56 million in funding, including $10 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to spur innovation in solar manufacturing and recycling.

“This administration wants to seize U.S. leadership in solar energy, from manufacturing to recycling, and that means making the right investments to ensure these technologies are made right here at home,” states U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE is able to invest in our nation’s innovators so they can improve manufacturing and strengthen the domestic solar supply chain – lowering energy bills for Americans and businesses and driving toward an equitable clean energy future.”

According to DOE’s Solar Supply Chain Review Report, developing more domestic solar manufacturing can lead to benefits to the climate and environment as well as for American workers, employers and national security, while lowering energy bills for American families. The new programs are designed for innovation in solar technology, manufacturing, and support opportunities for the U.S., to expand thin-film module production, which does not rely upon foreign-dominated supply chains.

The FY22 Photovoltaics Research and Development Funding Opportunity of $29 Million includes $10 million from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support projects that increase reuse and recycling solar technologies. This funding opportunity supports projects that develop PV module designs that lower manufacturing costs and those that advance the manufacture of PV cells made of perovskites, which are a family of materials with high durability and low production costs. 

The FY22 Solar Manufacturing Incubator funding opportunity provides $27 million for projects that are aimed at commercializing new technologies to increase private investment in U.S. Solar Manufacturing. Projects that demonstrate how thin-film PV made of cadmium telluride can be manufactured in the United States are eligible for funding.

DOE also announced $18 million funding through the Technology Commercialization Fund in support of seven National Laboratory projects that will address commercialization issues related to DOE-funded technologies.

DOE also issued a request to information about vehicle-integrated PV challenges and opportunities. This would allow solar energy to power vehicles including cars, boats, and planes. Stakeholders from the transportation and solar industries are encouraged to send feedback by August 22nd, 5 p.m. ET.

DOE also announced $8 million for seven small solar companies that will conduct research and development in the areas of concentrating solar-thermal energy, power electronics, and solar-powered drinking water technologies.

Image: Mariana Proença on Unsplash