The Energy Department on December 17 announced $20 million in new funding that will help integrate concentrating solar power (CSP) systems with fossil-fuel power plants. These hybrid systems leverage the infrastructure of fossil fuel plants, such as turbine and transmission systems, helping to reduce the cost of solar-generated electricity and bring CSP plants online quicker. Today, between 11 and 21 gigawatts of CSP could be built and integrated into existing fossil fuel plants in the United States, enough to power between three and six million homes.
The new funding strives to overcome near-term market and technological barriers for cost-effective CSP hybrid system implementation. Additionally, CSP hybrid technology may help enable further cost reductions in stand-alone CSP projects and spur innovations across the broader CSP supply chain. The projects selected for funding under this program will work to design, build, and test cost-competitive integrated CSP/fossil fuel power generating systems. The Energy Department seeks applications from industry, universities, and national laboratories. Awardees are required to provide 75% of the total project cost.
The Department's SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade, is sponsoring the offering. See the Energy Department Progress Alert and the funding opportunity announcement .