WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that its Loan Programs Office (LPO) will make up to $1 billion in loan guarantees available to support commercial-scale distributed energy projects, such as rooftop solar with energy storage and smart grid technology. In addition, through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), DOE is awarding $24 million in funding for 11 high-performance solar power projects that could lower the cost and improve the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems.
LOAN GUARANTEES FOR DISTRIBUTED ENERGY PROJECTS
Distributed energy technologies, such as rooftop solar, energy storage, smart grid technology, and methane capture for oil and gas wells, solve key energy challenges, create economic opportunity, strengthen energy security, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, these distributed technologies can be limited by market barriers since commercial lenders are often unwilling or unable to take on the risk of a new or innovative technology until it has a solid history of credit performance and commercial operation. The LPO announcement will help overcome market barriers and accelerate deployment of distributed energy technologies by making $1 billion of loan guarantee authority available through the existing Title XVII program and providing guidance on the types of financial structures it can support for distributed energy projects.
ARPA-E MOSAIC PROGRAM
ARPA-E’s Micro-scale Optimized Solar-cell Arrays with Integrated Concentration (MOSAIC) program is awarding $24 million to 11 teams across the country to develop new solar technologies that will create highly efficient PV panels that capture more sunlight using less area. For example, many roofs are not well suited for conventional solar panels due to their size and/or location, making them inefficient and costly for some residents, businesses, and utilities. However, using concentrated solar power (CPV) optical devices that concentrate sunlight onto a smaller, high-efficiency solar PV receiver can reduce the footprint of conventional solar panels, while maintaining their ability to generate electricity. Current CPV technologies are location dependent, and require expensive materials to integrate into existing solar systems. MOSAIC seeks to overcome these challenges and develop small CPV systems (known as micro-scale CPV technology) that integrate more affordable materials and manufacturing techniques into PV solar panels that can be adopted in more locations.
MOSAIC has selected projects in California, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington to develop solar modules that integrate high-performance micro-scale concentrated PV technologies into “flat plate” solar panels to improve the efficiency and cost of solar technologies.
Additional information on all 11 MOSAIC projects is available here.
Publication date: 9/7/2015