At the University of Texas-Austin today, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will announce $30 million in funding to 12 ARPA-E 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 photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies to drive lower-cost, reliable solar energy deployment. Later in the day, Secretary Moniz will travel to San Antonio where he will meet with Mayor Julian Castro and discuss the Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy and the importance of science and innovation.
In the State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted the United States' growing role as a global leader in solar as demonstrated in a new industry report which recently found that U.S. utility-scale solar set a record with 2.3 gigawatts installed in 2013. Next week, Secretary Moniz will travel to Ivanpah Dry Lake, Calif., to dedicate the world's largest concentrating solar power plant -- continuing U.S. leadership in clean energy.
"The United States is becoming a global leader in solar and we're seeing more and more Americans rely on affordable, clean solar energy to power their homes and businesses." said Secretary Moniz. "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. The ARPA-E projects announced today are exactly the type of innovative technologies we need to keep breaking through barriers -- advancing lower cost, highly efficient solar power."
As part of today's announcement, Secretary Moniz will award $30 million to 12 projects through 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, projects will develop advanced solar converters that turn sunlight into electricity for immediate use, while also producing 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. For example, Camas, Wash.-based Sharp Labs of America will receive about $4 million to develop a hybrid solar converter that could enable utilities to provide on-demand and low-cost solar electricity. MicroLink Devices, based in Niles, Ill., will receive about $3.6 million to develop high-efficiency solar cells that can operate at temperatures above 750°F and can extract the most energy possible from sunlight when integrated with hybrid solar converters.