U.S. Department of Energy Encourages Ascent Solar to Submit Full Application for Federal Funding of Agrivoltaic Product Development Project
THORNTON, COLO., Oct. 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ascent Solar Technologies, (Nasdaq: ASTI) (“ASTI” or the “Company”), the leading U.S. innovator in the design and manufacture of featherweight, flexible, and durable CIGS thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solutions, announced today that the initial concept paper submitted for DE-FOA-0003057: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Silicon Solar Manufacturing, and Dual-use Photovoltaics Incubator has been reviewed and received an “Encouraged” decision from the Department of Energy (DOE).
Ascent will now move forward with the application process in hopes of securing funding through this FOA to advance the development of the proposed agrivoltaic system. Ascent is working to innovate agrivoltaic technologies that will directly benefit the farmers of America by enabling reliable and durable on-site solar power generation for behind the meter use.
The Biden-Harris Administration has demonstrated a commitment to spurring agrivoltaic adoption. In the summer of 2023, the administration via the DOE announced a “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Silicon Solar Manufacturing and Dual-use Photovoltaics Incubator funding opportunity, which will award $45 million for projects to enable continued solar cost reductions while developing next-generation solar technologies and boosting American solar manufacturing.” Ascent believes its thin-film solar technology is a natural fit for application, especially as the DOE has noted the importance of developing new technologies that can facilitate agrivoltaic adoption and lower the cost of manufacturing and installation.
Agrivoltaics, the coupling of solar panel installs among rows of crops on America’s vast farmland, have garnered significant attention for their efficiency in land use and potential for significant energy production. While considered a nascent use of solar technology, the category is considered high growth with industry experts forecasting a 10%+ annual growth rate amid a marketplace exceeding several billion dollars in coming years.
“Thin-film solar is uniquely capable of being produced and incorporated into agrivoltaic application, and we are appreciative of the Department of Energy’s commitment to exploring the potential of the technology,” said Paul Warley, CEO of Ascent Solar Technologies. “This is an opportunity for Ascent to submit a full application for a DOE funded project, demonstrating our technology’s potential following years of research for application to produce solar energy on farms, and provide water conservation. We look forward to completing the full application and competing for involvement in the project(s).”
According to Lee et al. and Weselek et al., agrivoltaics can increase land productivity by 60–70%. Per a study entitled ‘The potential of agrivoltaic systems’ published by Dinesh and Pearce, it can increase the economic value of land by more than 30%, by minimizing yield losses due to shading effects through appropriate crop selection. With the many benefits associated with agrivoltaic installations supported by extensive research, it is Ascent’s goal to close the gap for farmers by deploying its thin-film solar technology to enable dual use of agricultural land with easy installation and minimal impact to existing operations.
ABOUT ASCENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
Backed by 40 years of R&D, 15 years of manufacturing experience, numerous awards, and a comprehensive IP and patent portfolio, Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of innovative, high-performance, flexible thin-film solar panels for use in environments where mass, performance, reliability, and resilience matter. Ascent’s photovoltaic (PV) modules have been deployed on space missions, multiple airborne vehicles, agrivoltaic installations, in industrial/commercial construction as well as an extensive range of consumer goods, revolutionizing the use cases and environments for solar power. Ascent Solar’s research and development center and 5-MW nameplate production facility is in Thornton, Colorado. To learn more, visit https://www.ascentsolar.com or follow the Company on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter).
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References (Not all mentioned)
- Agrivoltaic, a Synergistic Co-Location of Agricultural and Energy Production in Perpetual Mutation: A Comprehensive Review by Aminata Sarr,Y. M. Soro, Alain K. Tossa and Lamine Diop
- H Dinesh, JM Pearce – Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2016
- NREL Report: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy22osti/83566.pdf
- Lee, H.J.; Park, H.H.; Kim, Y.O.; Kuk, Y.I. Crop Cultivation Underneath Agro Photovoltaic Systems and Its Effects on Crop Growth, Yield, and Photosynthetic Efficiency. Agronomy 2022, 12, 1842. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Dinesh, H.; Pearce, J.M. The potential of agrivoltaic systems. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2016, 54, 299–308. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Weselek, A.; Ehmann, A.; Zikeli, S.; Lewandowski, I.; Schindele, S.; Högy, P. Agrophotovoltaic systems: Applications, challenges, and opportunities. A review. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 2019, 39, 35. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
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