The U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $105.5 million to support energy innovation through solar technology.

Under the DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), the agency will fund about 70 projects to advance both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) technologies, as well as facilitate integrating those technologies into the nation’s electricity grid. Funding will also support efforts that prepare the workforce for the solar industry’s future needs.

(Learn more about the funding opportunity here.)

The DOE says that research projects supported through the 2018 funding announcement will address the earliest stages of technology development, enable significant improvements to the current fleet of solar technologies and maintain U.S. leadership in solar energy.

The DOE says the funding program will focus on four main areas:

Advanced Solar Systems Integration Technologies (up to $46 million, approximately 14 projects)

These projects will advance research on technologies that enable the seamless integration of solar energy onto the nation’s electricity grid. By supporting advances in power electronics, solar plus storage and PV-integrated sensor technologies, the work will help ensure a smooth transition to a secure, reliable and resilient grid of the future.

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Research and Development (up to $24 million, approximately 21 projects)

These projects pursue innovative CSP concepts and technology solutions that enable the solar industry to reach DOE’s 2030 levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) targets for CSP, including $0.05 per kilowatt-hour for systems with greater than 12 hours of onsite storage. Research in CSP will focus on advancing elements found in CSP subsystems, including collectors and thermal transport systems for advanced power cycles, while pursuing new methods for introducing innovation to CSP research.

Photovoltaics Research and Development (up to $27 million, approximately 28 projects)

These projects support early-stage research to increase performance, reduce materials and processing costs, and improve reliability of PV cells, modules and systems. These projects support DOE’s efforts to lower LCOE to $0.03 per kilowatt hour from utility-scale systems by 2030, which is half the cost of utility-scale solar today.

Improving and Expanding the Solar Industry through Workforce Initiatives (up to $8.5 million, approximately 4 projects)

These projects will pursue innovative initiatives that prepare the solar industry for a digital future while also increasing the number of veterans and participants in the solar industry.

Within each of the technology areas, DOE says it will fund projects that develop and test new ways to accelerate the integration of emerging technologies into the solar industry value chain and expand private sector engagement supporting energy innovation, especially those related to financing and commercialization.