Solar Energy Technologies Office Multi-Year Program Plan

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) released its Multi-Year Program Plan, describing the priorities, actions, and goals to accelerate the advancement and equitable deployment of solar technology by 2025. The need to address the climate crisis, create high quality jobs, and ensure energy justice are foundational for the plan, which will inform SETO’s funding opportunities and strategic planning through the next five years.

Because solar electricity is now often cost-competitive with conventional generation, SETO has added three new priorities beyond cost reduction: reliable electricity, rapid deployment, and energy beyond electricity—specifically, using solar-thermal technology to reduce carbon emissions in industrial processes.

To achieve the Biden Administration’s goal of decarbonizing the U.S. grid by 2035, solar technology will need to provide 30%–50% of electricity. Achieving the goals laid out in SETO’s Multi-Year Program Plan will enable the solar industry to meet this target. The plan features 16 specific goals spanning the office’s five research areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power, systems integration, soft cost reduction, and manufacturing and competitiveness.

The goals include:

  • Using PV and storage in power systems to demonstrate rapid recovery of critical electricity services after a cyberattack or physical event
  • Opening new markets by combining 1 gigawatt of PV installation with another use, such as agriculture or building surfaces
  • Demonstrating new materials, designs, and practices for reducing the environmental impact of PV technology, prioritized based on a life cycle impacts benchmark

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