As part of the SunShot Technology to Market initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $22.7 million in funding for nearly two dozen solar technology projects. Combining three historically separate SunShot funding programs – Incubator, SUNPATH, and SolarMaT – the Technology to Market program supports projects aimed at lowering the cost of solar energy systems, while boosting the country’s clean energy manufacturing sector. Awardees are developing tools, technologies, and services intended to reduce the costs of panels; tracking systems; PV, load, and storage integration; grid monitoring; and power electronics, as well as soft costs related to customer acquisition, permitting, project siting, financing, interconnection, and inspection.
Some of the awarded projects include:
Automated Rooftop Modeling and Shading Analysis: Aurora Solar, a company based in Palo Alto, CA, is developing a web-based application that calculates the solar potential of a building’s rooftop using image recognition and computer visioning algorithms. The technology will allow companies assess large volumes of potential sites throughout the United States and lower costs of customer acquisition in remote areas.
Solar Permit Generator: Folsom Labs is creating a software-based Solar Permit Generator that automatically generates documents required for a solar array in a particular jurisdiction. The program builds on the system design information already included in HelioScope, the company’s existing design and engineering software platform. Because permit documents are traditionally hand-crafted using various all-purpose software products, this project has the potential to significantly reduce the man-hours required for solar permitting.
eCommerce Platform for Clean Energy: PowerScout has developed a data-driven eCommerce platform for clean energy that uses technology to compress customer acquisition costs. Potential customers can enter their address to browse a variety of clean energy solutions available to them. PowerScout then estimates the customers’ energy needs and highlights potential impacts of purchasing specific clean energy technologies. Customers are then connected to financing partners and installers.
Color-Match Solar Panels: Somerville, MA-based Sistine Solar plans to develop a graphics layer for solar panels that allows homeowners to customize the look of their systems. Their product, SolarSkin, transforms traditional solar panels into installations that can display any image, design, or pattern. Because the perceived poor aesthetics of solar can be a major barrier to adoption, this product represents a significant opportunity for increased deployment.
The Energy Switch: Concurrent Design Inc. is creating an energy appliance that equips a home for plug-and-play expansion of solar PV, storage, load control, and automated islanding. The Energy Switch allows a homeowner to control whether the electricity they produce is stored or sent back to the grid, as well as enable them to specify conditional de-activation of critical loads in response to grid outages or peak demand incentives from the utility. The appliance is expected to significantly reduce permitting and hardware costs.
To view the full list of awarded projects, visit the SunShot Technology to Market page.