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Solar & Alternative Energy

DOE announces funding for concentrating solar, SBIR Phase II grants

SPIE Newsroom
10 May 2010

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on 7 May the selection of projects for investment of up to $62 million over five years to research, develop, and demonstrate Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) systems capable of providing low-cost electrical power. This funding will support improvements in CSP systems, components, and thermal energy storage to accelerate the market-readiness of this renewable energy technology. Accelerating breakthroughs in renewable energy technologies supports the Administration's strategy of diversifying the U.S. energy portfolio to increase our energy independence while fostering a fast-growing clean-energy economy.

"Developing low-cost, renewable energy generation is crucial to meeting our nation's increasing demands for electricity," said Secretary Chu. "By investing in the development of low-cost solar technologies we can create new jobs and pave the way towards a clean-energy future."

The award recipients fall into two categories:

Concentrating Solar Power Systems Studies: Projects awarded under this category will evaluate the feasibility of a complete CSP baseload system and support development of prototype systems for field testing.

  • Abengoa Solar, Inc., Lakewood, Colorado: Up to $10.6 million
  • eSolar, Inc.,Pasadena, California: Up to $10.8 million
  • Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, California: Up to $10.2 million.

Concentrating Solar Power Component Feasibility Studies: Awards under this category focus on research and development of concepts and components that could be part of a CSP baseload system.

  • General Atomics, San Diego, California: Up to $2.1 million
  • HiTek Services, Inc., Owens Cross Roads, Alabama: Up to $3.0 million
  • Infinia Corporation, Kennewick, Washington: Up to $3.0 million
  • PPG Industries, Inc., Cheswick, Pennsylvania: Up to $3.0 million
  • SENER Engineering and Systems Inc., San Francisco, California: Up to $3.1 million
  • SkyFuel, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico: Up to $4.3 million
  • SunTrough Energy, Inc., Chatsworth, California: Up to $4.5 million
  • Terrafore, Inc., Riverside, California: Up to $1.4 million
  • University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida: Up to $2.5 million
  • Wilson TurboPower, Inc., Woburn, Massachusetts: Up to $3.7 million.

Meanwhile, also on 7 May, Under Secretary of Energy (and SPIE Fellow) Kristina Johnson announced that $60 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is available to continue supporting innovative small business research and development leading to deployment of clean energy technologies.

The Phase II SBIR/STTR funding will go to companies that have successfully demonstrated results with new technologies and ability to meet market needs. The 125 applicants selected in Phase I are eligible for the second-phase funding.

Additional information on the SBIR program and the funding announcement is available on the SBIR/STTR Programs Office website.

For further details on the concentrating solar funding, see the DOE press release

DOE Solar Technologies Program