The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced its goal of lowering the price of solar energy by 60% within the next decade, and is deploying USD 128 million of funding towards this goal. The DOE hopes to drive down the current price of 4.6 cents/kWh to 3 cents/kWh by 2025, and 2 cents/kWh by 2030.
Funding announced through the DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) will support advancing two materials used to make solar cells, for a total of USD 63 million:
- perovskites, which are a family of emerging solar materials that have potential to make highly efficient thin-film solar cells with very low production costs;
- cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film, which make up 20% of the modules installed in the country and provide an alternative to conventional silicon-based technologies.
The investment also supports several concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) projects. Unlike PV technologies, CSP captures heat from sunlight and uses this thermal energy to spin a turbine or power an engine to generate electricity. This represents USD 58 million from the fund.
Additionally, the DOE announced USD 7 million as part of a new funding opportunity for projects to increase the lifetime of silicon-based PV systems from about 30 years to 50 years to lower the cost of energy and reduce waste.