Solar Energy Innovation Network

The Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN) helps communities develop transformative approaches to adopting solar energy. Teams develop their ideas in real-world contexts, yielding results that can unlock tomorrow’s solar markets.

Solar Energy Innovation Network Logo. U.S. Department of Energy

Solar energy already provides clean power, financial savings, and energy resilience to many Americans. But many individuals, organizations, and communities still face complex and poorly understood barriers to adopting solar energy.

The Solar Energy Innovation Network seeks to overcome barriers to solar adoption by connecting teams of stakeholders that are pioneering new ideas with the resources they need to succeed. Teams that participate in SEIN receive direct funding and analytical support from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories and participate in peer-to-peer learning with other teams that are tackling similar challenges.

These teams are developing and documenting their solutions for solar adoption with scale in mind, so that others can adapt those solutions to their own contexts. Ultimately, the true impact of these teams’ efforts will be to enable a wide array of communities to adopt solar solutions that meet their needs in their own contexts.

SEIN is funded by the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office and is led by NREL.

Round 3

In the third round of the Solar Energy Innovation Network, underserved communities are exploring new approaches to the equitable adoption of solar energy in residential and commercial-scale settings. Learn more about the third round.

Round 2

The second round of the Solar Energy Innovation Network comprised eight teams in two cohorts that focused on novel applications of solar energy and other distributed energy resources in either commercial-scale settings or rural communities. Learn more about the second round.

Round 1

The first round of the Solar Energy Innovation Network consisted of nine teams divided into two cohorts. One cohort focused on improving the reliability and affordability of renewable energy. The second cohort considered the siting and operation of solar energy and distributed energy resources to improve grid flexibility and resiliency. Learn more about the first round.

Assistance for Early Adopters

NREL is offering targeted analytical support to help other communities and organizations adopt and apply insights developed through the Innovation Network. Learn more about early adopter assistance and apply.

Program Structure

Teams are grouped into cohorts based on shared challenges and goals.

Over the course of 15 months, teams receive direct funding, analytical support from NREL and other expert partners, and facilitation support. Through coordinated engagement at multiday working sessions spread across the 15 months, teams also work together to identify local and regional benefits and barriers, formulate and test innovations, and validate new models. Sustained interaction with other teams creates a valuable platform for ensuring a team's solutions benefit from lessons learned elsewhere and are devised in ways that maximize replicability. Insights and results from the program are shared at a symposium at the end of each round, through NREL publications, and on this website.


Visit the SEIN publications page to browse publications from all rounds of the Solar Energy Innovation Network.


Please direct questions to the Solar Energy Innovation Network team.

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