DOE funds hybrid solar technologies

The US Energy Department is providing $30m funding to 12 projects to develop transformational hybrid solar energy technologies that deliver cost-effective power when the sun is not shining.

These projects will help advance solar energy beyond current PV and concentrated solar power technologies to drive lower-cost, reliable solar energy deployment, according to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. Funding awardees are unique in that they are developing entirely new ways to generate, store and use energy.

The projects are part of ARPA-E’s Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS) program, which is aimed at developing new hybrid solar energy converters and hybrid energy storage systems that can deliver low-cost, high-efficiency solar energy on demand.  

Under the FOCUS program, the projects will produce heat that can be stored at low cost for later use, as well as innovative storage systems that accept both heat and electricity from variable solar sources.

“The Energy Department is working across the industry to help our country’s top engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs bring new solar innovations to market faster,” says Moniz.

The US installed a record 2.3GW of utility-scale solar in 2013.