October 7, 2008

Sandia manages new DOE renewable energy program

DOE to invest up to $24 million for breakthrough solar energy products

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Sandia National Laboratories has been chosen as project manager of a new Department of Energy renewable energy program called Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (SEGIS). The project will involve 12 industry teams from around the country. DOE will invest up to $24 million in FY08 and beyond on the project, depending on the availability of funds.

The program will provide critical research and development funding to develop less expensive, higher performing products to enhance the value of solar photovoltaics (PV) systems to homeowners, business owners, and the nation’s electric utilities. These projects are part of President Bush’s Solar America Initiative, which aims to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to lead this large effort that promises to be an important component of our country’s energy strategy for years to come,” says Margie Tatro, director of Sandia’s Fuel and Water Systems Center. “Increasing the use of alternative and clean energy technologies such as solar is critical to diversifying the nation’s energy sources and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

The SEGIS funding opportunity was announced in November 2007. The projects selected for awards focus on collaborative research and development with U.S. industry teams to develop products that will enable photovoltaics to become a more integral part of household, commercial, and utility intelligent energy systems.

A recent DOE news release announcing SEGIS cites examples of research teams working together to develop intelligent system controls that integrate solar systems with utility infrastructures and traditional building energy management.

DOE and Sandia selected 12 industry teams to participate in the first slate of cost-shared collaborative contracts focusing on conceptual design of hardware components and market analysis.

For these 12 winning projects, $2.9 million in DOE funding is leveraging $1.7 million in industry investments. The plan is to award follow-on contracts in FY09 and beyond — subject to the availability of funds — for projects demonstrating the most promising technology advances exhibiting a high likelihood of commercial success. When the projects are combined with the overall industry investment of up to $16 million, more than $40 million in total could be invested in these SEGIS projects, with future funding subject to appropriations from Congress.

SEGIS contracts awardees include Apollo Solar, EMTEC, Enphase, General Electric, Nextek Power Systems, Petra Solar, Princeton Power, Premium Power, PV Powered, Smart Spark, Florida Solar Energy Center of the University of Central Florida, and VPT Energy Inc.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Chris Burroughs, 505-844-0948