DOE announced on February 8, 2012 of a funding opportunity for more than $12 million in funding to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace. The funding, which will be made available through the agency’s SunShot Incubator program, will support advancements in hardware, reductions in soft costs, and the development of pilot manufacturing and production projects. Each awardee will make significant cost-share commitments.
The SunShot Incubator program, part of the SunShot Initiative:
helps launch new startups and business units within existing companies to accelerate innovative solar technology development.
Since 2007, DOE has invested $60 million through the incubator in promising technologies as they are brought from lab to marketplace. These investments have catalyzed $1.6 billion in private sector support.
The current funding opportunity builds on the SunShot Incubator Program’s history of successful partnerships. Nearly 40 companies have participated in the Incubator, including Colorado-based PrimeStar Solar. In 2007, DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and PrimeStar began a cooperative research and development agreement to transition NREL’s cadmium telluride solar technology to commercial production. PrimeStar later received a $3 million Incubator award to commercialize its low-cost photovoltaic solar panels. PrimeStar is now owned by GE, which has launched a $600 million investment in PrimeStar and the construction of a large-scale manufacturing plant in Colorado that will employ more than 350 workers to produce state-of-the-art solar panels.