U.S. Department of Energy

    ARPA-E Announces $30 Million for Full-Spectrum Solar

    July 31, 2013

    The Energy Department on July 16 announced that the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will offer up to $30 million for a new program to develop new technologies that deliver cost-effective solar energy when the sun is not shining, in bad weather and even at night. The program, Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS), seeks to develop two distinct technology options to deliver low-cost, high-efficiency solar energy on demand: new hybrid solar energy converters and new hybrid energy storage systems. The technologies developed will help advance solar energy beyond current photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies to ensure solar power remains a consistent, cost-effective renewable energy option.

    The first approach will develop advanced solar converters that turn sunlight into electricity for immediate use, while also producing heat that can be stored at low cost for later use. These hybrid converters will use the entire solar spectrum more efficiently than PV or CSP technologies. The second approach will develop innovative storage systems that accept heat and electricity from variable solar sources to deliver electricity when needed. See the Energy Department press release and the ARPA-E website.