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DOE to Fund up to $50 Million to Demonstrate Innovative, Cost-Competitive Solar Energy Technologies

Posted Dec 16 2010 12:00am

Washington, DC - Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the Department's intent to fund up to $50 million to test and demonstrate innovative technologies that will lead to cost-competitive solar energy technologies. The demonstration program will be a critical link between the Department of Energy's advanced technology development programs and full-scale commercialization efforts. The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) will serve as a proving ground for cutting-edge solar technologies, such as concentrating solar thermal power and concentrating photovoltaic energy, which can be used for utility applications in the Southwestern United States where there is an abundance of solar energy.

"This funding will allow the Department to further test advanced and innovative solar energy technologies in real-world conditions, providing critical data for companies and communities looking to invest in large-scale solar projects," said Secretary Chu. "The Solar Demonstration Zone in Nevada is part of an integrated effort to expand the solar energy industry, helping to put America on a path to a sustainable energy future and create the jobs of the 21st century economy."

The Department expects to announce the Funding Opportunity Announcement early next year. Potential technology applications include Concentrated Solar Power systems that use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight on a heat absorbing fluid, convert it to steam, and ultimately generate electricity, as well as Concentrated Photovoltaic Power that uses lenses to concentrate sunlight to improve the efficiency of conventional photovoltaics. The demonstration projects as part of the Solar Demonstration Zone will be deployed at a large enough scale to provide useful operating and economic data for the eventual deployment of solar energy projects at utility-scale, which are typically grid-connected projects larger than 20 megawatts.

The Solar Demonstration Zone at the Nevada National Security Site will complement the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management's 24 Solar Energy Study Areas (SESAs) on public lands across the Southwest United States by providing essential data about the commercial viability of the most advanced solar technologies.

As part of DOE and the Department of Interior's continuing collaboration, the Departments are working together to implement this project, including conducting environmental reviews and coordinating necessary infrastructure planning for the site. Department of Energy funding for the project is dependent upon congressional appropriations. The full Notice of Intent is available on  FedConnect.net by searching under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000233.

For more information on the Solar Energy Technologies Program and solar funding opportunities, please visit the Solar Program's website .

Lean more information on the BLM's renewable energy program .

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