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Energy

ARPA-E, Solar Projects Funded

by Jeff Johnson
October 28, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 43

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Credit: Shutterstock
Rooftop solar-panel installation is one target of new DOE grants.
09143-govcon-solarpanelscxd.jpg
Credit: Shutterstock
Rooftop solar-panel installation is one target of new DOE grants.

Fourteen new projects will receive $27 million in R&D funds through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. These grants will support the development of wide-bandgap semiconductor materials, architectures, and fabrication processes to improve energy density and switching frequencies for power electronics systems, particularly electric motor drives and solar and wind inverters. The ARPA-E selections were announced last week along with a similar DOE announcement that some $60 million will be awarded to a mix of solar-energy-related R&D projects, mostly to support installation of rooftop solar-panel systems for businesses and residences. The projects are intended to improve solar efficiency, to ease solar panel installation, and to encourage integration of solar systems into the electric grid. DOE earmarked $15 million of the $60 million to develop a power engineering curriculum and launch four regional training consortiums, led by universities, utilities, and industry, to train energy engineers, system operators, and utility professionals.

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