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Now Accepting Applications to Join the Solar Energy Innovation Network

July 13, 2017

The Solar Energy Innovation Network is a new three-year private-public collaboration managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative. Teams composed of electric utilities, regional planning commissions, state and local governments, and others working on innovative initiatives such as testing new financing mechanisms, deploying solar photovoltaics (PV)-enabling technology, and scaling up utility programs are invited to apply.

About the Network

The Network brings together stakeholders from across the United States to develop innovative solutions that explore new approaches to solar market barriers, reduce integration risks, and increase market opportunities—with the support of the nation's premier energy research organizations. Insights gained from these collaborations will inform foundational solar research and development pathways, and allow for pilot testing of new business models and technology solutions.

Program Structure

The Network will provide stakeholders with efficient access to technical experts and enable lessons learned to be shared and replicated across the United States and sectors of the solar industry. The program will support selected project teams through in-person meetings and targeted research and analysis over an 18–21 month period. Project teams will be grouped into cohorts based on shared challenges. For example, cohort topics may include using solar for resiliency, investigating technology solutions to take advantage of surplus solar generation, or developing a regional solar roadmap. The first round of cohort topics will be chosen based on the needs indicated by applicants.

Teams will benefit from both direct support and indirect technical assistance, including working side-by-side with program staff, peer teams, and other subject-matter experts; assistance with stakeholder mapping; coaching to address institutional and technical challenges; and access to laboratory staff, modeling tools, and analysis capabilities.

Who Should Apply

We are seeking teams made up of multiple partnering stakeholders that would benefit from sustained external support to boost their ideas, goals, and projects from early stages toward implementation at scale. Teams must specify an action-based goal or initiative, such as piloting a solution, developing and implementing a plan, or informing a decision-making process through research and analysis. The composition of project teams is flexible and may include entities such as state and local organizations, electric utilities, regional planning commissions, solar industry members, technology solution providers, universities, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

Informational Webinar

NREL will host an informational webinar Wednesday, July 19, from 12–1 p.m. ET, to answer questions and provide additional information about the program. Please register for the webinar in advance.

More Information and How to Apply

Electronic applications are due on or before August 1.

Additional details on the program and a link to the application form are available on our website.

Contact

Please direct questions to the program administrator at SEIN@nrel.gov.

This program is supported by the DOE SunShot Initiative, a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. SunShot aims to make solar energy a low-cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.