Ascent Solar, a leading thin-film manufacturer, has recently received a vote of confidence from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for its pioneering agrivoltaics technology. This positive feedback has paved the way for the company to seek funding for the development of an ambitious agrivoltaics system aimed at benefiting farmers across the United States.
The company is fervently dedicated to advancing agrivoltaics technology that promises to bring reliable and long-lasting on-site solar power generation to farmers for behind-the-meter use. Agrivoltaics, the integration of solar panels with agricultural practices, holds the potential to revolutionize farming by harnessing solar energy while preserving valuable agricultural land.
Paul Warley, the CEO of Ascent Solar Technologies, expressed his gratitude for the DOE's recognition of their efforts, stating, “Thin-film solar is uniquely capable of being produced and incorporated into agrivoltaics applications, and we are appreciative of the DOE's commitment to exploring the potential of the technology.” This approval marks a significant opportunity for Ascent to submit a comprehensive funding application for a DOE-supported project, showcasing the true potential of their technology after years of dedicated research focused on enhancing solar energy production on farms and promoting water conservation.
The DOE's commitment to advancing solar technologies is evident through its allocation of $45 million in funding to support domestic solar manufacturing and dual-use photovoltaic (PV) projects, with $18 million designated under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The initiative, known as the Silicon Solar Manufacturing and Dual-use Photovoltaics Incubator, aims to finance up to 12 manufacturing projects spanning the entire solar supply chain. This initiative aligns with the Biden administration's efforts to establish a robust domestic PV manufacturing base following the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Furthermore, the DOE has expressed its willingness to fund dual-use PV projects in emerging industry sectors, including agrivoltaics. This encouraging stance has spurred Ascent Solar to pursue funding, demonstrating its commitment to the growth and development of sustainable energy solutions that not only empower farmers but also contribute to the broader goals of clean energy adoption and economic growth.