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NSF and DOE Announce Joint Funding Opportunity for Solar Energy Research

Photo of solar cells.

Solar cells could bring America significantly closer to a sustainable energy future.
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April 18, 2011

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will jointly provide up to $39 million for research to improve photovoltaic (PV) cell performance and reduce module cost for grid-scale commercial applications. The agencies released a joint Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the "Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency" on April 8, 2011, to identify and fund solar device physics and PV technology research and development.

This collaborative effort is one of four programs in the SunShot Initiative recently announced by Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The SunShot Initiative aims to make solar energy technologies cost-competitive with other forms of energy by reducing the cost of solar energy systems by about 75 percent before 2020. Reducing the total installed cost for utility-scale solar electricity to roughly $1 per watt will result in rapid, large-scale adoption of solar electricity across the country. Reaching this goal will re-establish American technological leadership, improve the nation's energy security, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness in the global clean energy race.

SunShot's Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency addresses the technical foundations of PV by taking advantage of the complementary roles of NSF and DOE. NSF's mission to support basic research and educate the next generation of engineers and scientists "feeds the pipeline" to DOE's applied research and later-stage development that matures technologies toward U.S. economic impact.

"NSF aims to create breakthroughs for sustainable energy through its investment in basic research," said Robert Trew, director of the NSF Division of Electronic, Communications, and Cyber Systems (ECCS).  "We hope this collaboration with DOE will bring America significantly closer to a sustainable energy future."

-Cecile J. Gonzalez, NSF-

Media Contacts
Joshua Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730,
Ebony Meeks, DOE, (202) 586-4940,

Program Contacts
George Maracas, NSF Division of Electrical, Communications, and Cyber Systems (ECCS) Program for Energy, Power, and Adaptive Systems (EPAS), (703) 292-8339,
Marie Mapes, DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP), (202) 586-3765, 

Web Resources
DOE SunShot: 
DOE News Release:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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