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Solar & Alternative Energy

NREL seeks proposals, announces awards for photovoltaic technology incubator program

The U. S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is seeking project proposals as part of recently announced DOE funding to accelerate commercialization of solar energy technologies. NREL also announced partnerships with 13 U.S. small solar businesses, which have the capability to enter the market by 2012.

The Photovoltaic (PV) Technology Incubator program represents a significant partnering with U.S. industry to help speed commercialization of PV research and development to meet aggressive cost and installation goals.

"The PV Incubator is focused on enabling small business in the U.S. to accelerate prototype and pre-commercial technologies toward pilot and full-scale production," said NREL Senior Supervisor Martha Symko-Davies. "The companies are partnered with experts and capabilities at NREL, which reduces project implementation risk, quickly overcomes R&D hurdles, and increases the likelihood that the performance and reliability objectives can be achieved."

Symko-Davies is Symposium Chair for the Solar Energy+Technology symposium at SPIE Optics+Photonics, August 2-6 in San Diego.

The anticipated program funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is $9 million. The subcontracts, up to $3 million each, will be awarded as 18 month phased subcontracts. Go to http://www.nrel.gov/business_opportunities/pdfs/99013_loi.pdf for proposal information.

The primary objective of the PV Incubator program is to shorten the timeline for companies to transition prototype and pre-commercial PV technologies into pilot and full-scale manufacture. Applications are expected to focus on a limited number of high impact areas that are on the critical path to scaling-up technology. The minimum entrance criteria are demonstrated PV cells or process lab devices or modules. The successful exit criteria is for prototype modules and pilot production demonstration at greater than 3 megawatts a year.

PV Technology Pre-Incubator Awards Announced

The PV Technology Pre-Incubator program bridges the gap between the concept verification stage of a technology and the development of a commercially viable prototype. This program is aimed at small businesses that have the capability to enter the market by 2012, enabling electricity close to grid parity. The rapid research and development advancements of these innovative technology concepts will result in prototypes with projected manufacturing costs of less than $1/watt. The total anticipated subcontracts under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is $6 million. A detailed, state-by-state list of proposals selected for negotiations is available on the NREL website.

Full press release and listing of awards from NREL.