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Startup wins $1.1M grant for solar + long-duration storage R&D

Solar
Credit: Photo by Anders Jacobsen on Unsplash

Vermont-based Norwich Technologies announced last week that it has been awarded a $1.1M U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop a low-cost hybrid solar power system that can deliver renewable energy 24 hours a day with the use of long duration thermal energy storage.

Norwich Technologies is working on what is calls “Suntrap” technology, which uses concentrating solar power (CSP), PV, and organic rankine cycle (ORC) generators plus thermal storage so it can deliver round-the-clock solar power to C&I customers. The company says it technology is modular and can be sized from 500-kW up to 10-MW of capacity.

Jonathan Lynch, Vice President of Research and Development at Norwich Technologies, said, “Our SunTrap 24/7 Solar Generation System solution will provide users with increased energy resilience and reduced electricity costs. The SunTrap system incorporates far more storage capacity than feasible with battery-based solutions, enabling a cost-effective solar resource capable of around-the-clock generation.”

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) awarded $12.3M to 11 small solar companies from 9 states as part of DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program. These new projects are part of the second phase of the program.

The program consists of funding opportunities that encourage U.S.-based small businesses to engage in innovative research and technology development with the potential for future commercialization. Small businesses that demonstrated technical feasibility for innovations during their Phase I grants competed for funding for further development during Phase II.

Troy McBride, Chief Technology Officer at Norwich Technologies and the project Principal Investigator said, “We are delighted to be selected for Phase II funding of this project, and to continue our work on this next generation technology that will enable low cost 24/7 distributed-scale solar electricity.”

In a July 14 press release announcing the grants, U.S. Energy Department Secretary Dan Brouillette stated, “As our country reopens, small businesses will play a critical role in the Nation’s economic recovery. I am pleased the Department can aid in this recovery through the SBIR and STTR grant programs, which are helping spur growth by providing meaningful financial investment for innovative energy and science R&D at American small businesses.”