U.S. Energy Department | October 1, 2014 – Building on the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan, the Energy Department announced $25 million in funding to advance concentrating solar power (CSP) system technologies.

This investment will fund research and development (R&D) projects to improve the performance and increase the efficiency of all components of CSP plants, ultimately lowering the cost of solar electricity and producing affordable, clean and renewable energy, even at night, by storing the heat generated by the sun.

“Investments to improve the efficiency and lower the costs of concentrating solar power technologies enhance our ability to deliver affordable solar-generated electricity to American families and businesses, while also moving us closer to achieving President Obama’s goal of doubling renewable energy generation again by the end of the decade,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.

CSP generates electric power by using mirrors to focus and concentrate the sun’s rays on a receiver from which a heat transfer fluid carries the intense thermal energy to a power block to generate electricity. CSP technology with thermal energy storage can store the sun’s intense heat for use when the sun isn’t shining.

This funding opportunity builds on the success of past Energy Department investments in solar energy technologies and will fund transformative projects for all types of CSP systems to enable cost-competitive CSP electric power generation. It targets R&D in technologies with the potential for much lower cost, higher efficiency, and more reliable performance than existing commercial and near-commercial CSP systems.

Eligible projects may include developing transformative solutions to break through current performance barriers, such as efficiency and temperature limitations, and projects to demonstrate or prove new concepts for CSP plant components. Key components targeted for advancements include solar collectors, receivers, thermal energy storage systems, heat transfer fluids, and other technologies that will lower operations and maintenance costs or achieve system-wide cost efficiencies.

This Energy Department funding builds on SunShot’s work to advance solar energy technologies and make solar energy more affordable and accessible for all Americans. The SunShot Initiative partners with industry, our national laboratories, and universities to drive innovations in CSP technologies to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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