This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 03, 2009

DOE Offers $467.6 Million for Geothermal and Solar Energy Projects

President Barack Obama announced on May 27 that DOE is offering $467.6 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to support geothermal and solar energy projects. The funds include $350 million for geothermal energy projects in four areas: geothermal energy resource assessments; innovative exploration techniques; demonstration projects; and research, development, and demonstrations of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) technology. EGS technology involves using such techniques as pumping high-pressure water into areas of high-temperature rock located deep underground, using the water pressure to create new or enhanced geothermal reservoirs.

The geothermal resource assessment is meant to be a nationwide effort that will classify geothermal resources based on the development potential of each location, with all the data fed into a new National Geothermal Data System. The demonstration projects will draw on unconventional geothermal energy resources, including low-temperature resources, geopressured resources (underground brines at high temperatures and pressures), and hot fluids from oil and gas wells. For all but the EGS work, see the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) on, or search the public opportunities on FedConnect for reference number DE-FOA-0000109. Applications for that FOA are due by July 22. For the EGS work, see the FOAs for research and development and demonstrations on the DOE e-Center Web site, or search FedConnect for reference numbers DE-FOA-0000075 and DE-FOA-0000092. Applications for EGS research and development projects are due on July 17, while applications for EGS demonstrations are due on July 30.

Photo of President Obama in shirtsleeves, placing a hand on Senator Reid's shoulder as they talk, with Colonel Belote attending to the two men while dressed in battle fatigues. Behind them, large arrays of solar cells are tilted toward the sun.

President Barack Obama speaks with Senator Harry Reid and Colonel Dave Belote as he tours the solar energy array at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. Enlarge this photo.
Credit:Nadine Barclay, U.S. Air Force

DOE is also offering $117.6 million in Recovery Act funds for solar energy technologies, including $51.5 million for the development of advanced photovoltaic (PV) technologies, such as solar cells and modules; $25.6 million for research and development to support concentrating solar power (CSP), which uses mirrored surfaces to capture the sun's heat; and $40.5 million to address non-technical barriers to solar energy deployment, including market barriers, cumbersome grid connection requirements, and a lack of trained installers. About $17 million of the solar funding is available only to DOE national laboratories. President Obama announced the new funding in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Nellis Air Force Base, the site of the largest solar PV installation in the Western Hemisphere. See the president's announcement, the DOE press release, and the solar energy solicitations on, which are divided into high-penetration solar PV deployment, solar market transformation, and the funds for DOE national laboratories. These solicitations can also be found by searching FedConnect for DE-FOA-0000085, DE-FOA-0000078, and DE-FOA-0000087, respectively. Applications are due by July 30 for the two main solicitations, while the due date for the national laboratory funding is July 15. As part of the funding, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is also soliciting letters of interest for PV Technology Incubators, with a due date of July 13. See the NREL solicitation (PDF 380 KB). Download Adobe Reader.