The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) unveiled a new research program last week focused on advancing solar-energy storage. Called Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion & Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS), the $30 million program will target ways to provide solar energy even when the sun is not shining. Two technologies are of particular interest. The first is a solar-energy converter that immediately turns sunlight into electricity while storing heat energy for later conversion into electricity. The second is a solar storage system that would collect both heat and solar energy for later conversion into electricity. “ARPA-E’s new program will leverage the ingenuity of America’s best and brightest to develop technologies that are critical to the continued growth of the solar industry,” says Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz. This award will bring total ARPA-E funding opportunities in 2013 to $145 million.