oversight

Solar Energy: Federal Initiatives Overlap but Take Measures to Avoid Duplication

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-08-30.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

              United States Government Accountability Office

GAO           Report to Congressional Requesters




August 2012
              SOLAR ENERGY

              Federal Initiatives
              Overlap but Take
              Measures to Avoid
              Duplication




GAO-12-843
                                             August 2012

                                             SOLAR ENERGY
                                             Federal Initiatives Overlap but Take Measures to
                                             Avoid Duplication
Highlights of GAO-12-843, a report to
congressional requesters




Why GAO Did This Study                       What GAO Found
The United States has abundant solar         Sixty-five solar-related initiatives with a variety of key characteristics were
energy resources and solar, along with       supported by six federal agencies (see table). Over half of these 65 initiatives
wind, offers the greatest energy and         supported solar projects exclusively; the remaining initiatives supported solar and
power potential among all currently          other renewable energy technologies. The 65 initiatives exhibited a variety of key
available domestic renewable                 characteristics, including multiple technology advancement activities ranging
resources. In February 2012, GAO             from basic research to commercialization by providing funding to various types of
reported that 23 federal agencies had        recipients including universities, industry, and federal laboratories and
implemented nearly 700 renewable             researchers, primarily through grants and contracts. Agency officials reported
energy initiatives in fiscal year 2010—
                                             that they obligated about $2.6 billion for the solar projects in these initiatives in
including initiatives that supported
                                             fiscal years 2010 and 2011, an amount higher than in previous years, in part,
solar energy technologies
(GAO-12-260). The existence of such
                                             because of additional funding from the 2009 American Recovery and
initiatives at multiple agencies raised      Reinvestment Act.
questions about the potential for
duplication, which can occur when
                                             Number of Federal Initiatives That Supported Solar Energy Technology in Fiscal Years 2010
multiple initiatives support the same        and 2011, by Agency and Total Obligations
technology advancement activities and
technologies, direct funding to the                                                                       Number of                  Total
same recipients, and have the same            Agency                                                 solar initiatives         obligations
goals.                                        Department of Energy (DOE)                                           20       $2,342,765,827
                                              Department of Defense (DOD)                                          27          154,637,296
GAO was asked to identify (1) solar-
related initiatives supported by federal      National Science Foundation (NSF)                                     7           48,761,556
agencies in fiscal years 2010 and 2011        National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)                  7           34,818,345
and key characteristics of those              U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)                                 3              577,247
initiatives and (2) the extent of
                                              Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)                                 1              200,000
fragmentation, overlap, and
duplication, if any, of federal solar-        Total                                                                65       $2,581,760,271
related initiatives, as well as the extent   Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.
of any coordination among these
initiatives. GAO reviewed its previous
                                             The 65 solar-related initiatives are fragmented across six agencies and overlap
work and interviewed officials at each
                                             to some degree in their key characteristics, but most agency officials reported
of the agencies identified as having
federal solar initiatives active in fiscal   coordination efforts to avoid duplication. The initiatives are fragmented in that
years 2010 and 2011. GAO developed           they are implemented by various offices across the six agencies and address the
a questionnaire and administered it to       same broad areas of national need. However, the agencies tailor their initiatives
officials involved in each initiative to     to meet their specific missions, such as DOD’s energy security mission and
collect information on: initiative goals,    NASA’s space exploration mission. Many of the initiatives overlapped with at
technology advancement activities,           least one other initiative in the technology advancement activity, technology type,
funding obligations, number of               funding recipient, or goal. However, GAO found no clear instances of duplicative
projects, and coordination activities.       initiatives. Furthermore, officials at 57 of the 65 initiatives (88 percent) indicated
                                             that they coordinated in some way with other solar-related initiatives, including
This report contains no
                                             both within their own agencies and with other agencies. Such coordination may
recommendations. In response to the
draft report, USDA generally agreed
                                             reduce the risk of duplication. Moreover, 59 of the 65 initiatives (91 percent)
with the findings, while the other           require applicants to disclose other federal sources of funding on their
agencies had no comments.                    applications to help ensure that they do not receive duplicative funding.

View GAO-12-843. For more information,
contact Frank Rusco at (202) 512-3841 or
ruscof@gao.gov.

                                                                                             United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                    1
               Background                                                                 4
               Six Agencies Supported Sixty-Five Solar-Related Initiatives with a
                  Variety of Key Characteristics                                          6
               Initiatives Are Fragmented across Agencies and Sometimes
                  Overlap, but Agency Officials Reported Coordination to Avoid
                  Duplication                                                           16
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                       25

Appendix I     Scope and Methodology                                                    26



Appendix II    Solar-Related Initiatives at Six Federal Agencies, Descriptions and
               Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations                                   29



Appendix III   GAO’s Questionnaire for Federal Agencies with Initiatives Supporting
               Solar Energy Technologies                                                43



Appendix IV    GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                    53



Tables
               Table 1: Initiatives and Projects by Agency, Fiscal Years 2010
                        and 2011                                                          7
               Table 2: Number of Federal Initiatives That Supported Solar
                        Energy Technology for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011, by
                        Agency and Total Actual and Estimated Obligations               16
               Table 3: Number of Initiatives Supporting Technology
                        Advancement Activities and Eligible Funding Recipients          17
               Table 4: Department of Defense Solar-Related Initiatives                 29
               Table 5: Department of Energy Solar-Related Initiatives                  36
               Table 6: Environmental Protection Agency Solar-Related Initiatives       39
               Table 7: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar-
                        Related Initiatives                                             40
               Table 8: National Science Foundation Solar-Related Initiatives           41
               Table 9: U.S. Department of Agriculture Solar-Related Initiatives        42



               Page i                                                GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Figures
          Figure 1: Number of Agencies’ Solar-Related Initiatives That
                   Supported Technology Advancement Activities                                      9
          Figure 2: Number of Agencies’ Solar-Related Initiatives That
                   Supported Various Recipient Types                                                12
          Figure 3: Number of Agencies’ Solar-Related Initiatives Employing
                   Various Funding Mechanisms                                                       14




          Abbreviations
          ARPA-E               Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy
          DARPA                Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
          DOD                  Department of Defense
          DOE                  Department of Energy
          EERE                 Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
          EIA                  Energy Information Administration
          EPA                  Environmental Protection Agency
          IAPG                 Interagency Advanced Power Group
          NASA                 National Aeronautics and Space Administration
          NNI                  National Nanotechnology Initiative
          NSF                  National Science Foundation
          OMB                  Office of Management and Budget
          R&D                  research and development
          Recovery Act         American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
          SETP                 Solar Energy Technologies Program
          TRL                  technology readiness level
          USDA                 United States Department of Agriculture


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          Page ii                                                           GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   August 30, 2012

                                   The Honorable Ralph M. Hall
                                   Chairman
                                   Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
                                   House of Representatives

                                   The Honorable Andy Harris
                                   Chairman
                                   Subcommittee on Energy and Environment
                                   Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
                                   House of Representatives

                                   The United States has abundant solar energy resources and solar, along
                                   with wind, offers the greatest energy and power potential among all
                                   commercial domestic renewable resources currently available, according
                                   to the National Academies of Science. While helping meet the nation’s
                                   energy needs, solar sources of electricity could also offer substantial
                                   environmental benefits, such as a reduction in greenhouse gas
                                   emissions, over conventional electricity generation. However, solar and
                                   wind energy as sources of electricity at the utility scale also face
                                   numerous challenges related to their intermittent availability and higher
                                   costs compared with traditional energy sources. The Department of
                                   Energy’s (DOE) Energy Information Administration, an independent
                                   statistical and analytical agency, reports that although solar energy
                                   accounted for only 1 percent of all renewable energy electricity consumed
                                   in the United States in 2010, solar energy use increased by about 60
                                   percent from 2006 to 2010. DOE has also embarked on a comprehensive
                                   effort to reduce the cost of generating electricity using solar power.

                                   Beyond supplying electricity to the existing infrastructure or grid (i.e., the
                                   electricity networks that carry electricity from the plants where it is
                                   generated to consumers, including wires, substations, and transformers),
                                   solar energy technologies have extensive defense and space
                                   applications. For example, the Department of Defense (DOD) has
                                   undertaken efforts to develop technologies that allow it to use solar
                                   energy in operational environments, such as the conflicts in Iraq and
                                   Afghanistan, to help reduce its reliance on conventional fuel, which is very
                                   difficult and costly to deliver and store. In addition, the National
                                   Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working to develop
                                   high-power solar electric propulsion systems to provide low-cost
                                   abundant power for deep-space missions. As the availability and


                                   Page 1                                                  GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
utilization of solar energy technologies have increased, so too has federal
support to some of the agencies addressing challenges associated with
further expansion of solar energy as an electricity source and to meet
other mission-specific goals.

In February 2012, we reported that 23 federal agencies had implemented
nearly 700 renewable energy initiatives in fiscal year 2010—and a number
of these initiatives supported solar energy technologies. 1 The existence of
such initiatives at multiple agencies has raised questions about the
potential for duplication that, in this context, occurs when multiple initiatives
support the same technology advancement activities and technologies,
direct funding to the same recipients, and have the same goals. As we
have previously reported, unnecessary duplication can potentially result
from fragmentation and overlap among government programs. 2
Fragmentation occurs when more than one federal agency, or more than
one organization within an agency, is involved in the same broad area of
national need. For the purposes of this report, overlap occurs when multiple
initiatives support similar technology advancement activities, similar
technologies, similar funding recipients, or have similar goals.

In this context, you asked us to review federal initiatives that supported
solar energy technology—which we termed “solar-related initiatives.” Our
objectives were to identify (1) solar-related initiatives supported by federal
agencies in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 and key characteristics of those
initiatives and (2) the extent of fragmentation, overlap, and duplication, if
any, among federal solar-related initiatives, as well as the extent of
coordination among these initiatives.

To address these objectives, we collected and analyzed information from
our previous work and conducted new work. More specifically, to identify
federal solar-related initiatives and to assess the extent of fragmentation,
overlap, and duplication among these initiatives, we relied on data from



1
 GAO, Renewable Energy: Federal Agencies Implement Hundreds of Initiatives,
GAO-12-260 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 27, 2012).
2
 GAO, Managing for Results: Using the Results Act to Address Mission Fragmentation
and Program Overlap, GAO/AIMD-97-146 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 29, 1997). For more
information on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication in federal programs see GAO,
Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax
Dollars, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-11-318SP (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 1, 2011).




Page 2                                                       GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
our February 2012 report on renewable energy, 3 which identified and
collected information from solar-related initiatives active 4 in fiscal year
2010, as well as other renewable energy initiatives. For the purposes of
this report, we defined an initiative as a program or group of agency
activities serving a similar purpose or function that involved solar energy
technologies through a specific emphasis or focus, even if solar energy
was only one part of a broader effort. We restricted our analysis to those
initiatives that supported research and development (R&D) on, or
commercialization of, innovative solar energy technologies.

Because initiatives often supported more than one type of technology
advancement activity, some of the initiatives included in this report may
also support deployment activities. We eliminated initiatives that focused
solely on the deployment of readily available solar energy technologies.
Although not covered in this report, a range of federal, state, and other
initiatives support such deployment activities. These federal deployment
activities facilitate or achieve widespread use of technologies—for
example, by federal agencies’ procurement of solar energy technologies
or by federal tax or other incentives that encourage households and
businesses to adopt these technologies. We have ongoing work that
looks at some of these deployment activities, including DOE’s Loan
Guarantee and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan
Programs, and a review of wind energy technology initiatives, including
those that support deployment activities. We also recently issued reports
on tax incentives for residential energy efficiency 5 and on renewable
energy deployment activities. 6

After using our February 2012 report to identify solar-related initiatives
that supported R&D and commercialization, we developed a
questionnaire and surveyed cognizant officials at each of the six agencies
that had such initiatives to collect additional information on the initiatives’
scope and key characteristics—DOD, DOE, the Environmental Protection



3
 GAO-12-260.
4
 For the purposes of this report, we defined “active” initiatives as those that were planned
or funded or implemented or authorized in the fiscal year described.
5
 GAO, Energy Conservation and Climate Change: Factors to Consider in the Design of
the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit, GAO-12-318 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 2, 2012).
6
 GAO-12-260.




Page 3                                                             GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
             Agency (EPA), NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the
             U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Specifically, we asked questions
             to ascertain the number of projects, funds obligated, type of technology
             advancement activities supported, recipients funded, funding
             mechanisms, initiative goals, and efforts to coordinate across other solar-
             related initiatives. To determine the extent to which agencies coordinated
             their initiatives, we used survey responses and interviews to identify
             coordination activities within and among the six agencies. We also asked
             the agencies to provide us with any additional relevant initiatives that
             were implemented in fiscal year 2011 that were not on our initial list, and
             we sent a copy of the questionnaire to officials representing those
             initiatives as well. (For further information on our questionnaire, see app.
             I. For a copy of our questionnaire, see app. III.) We then analyzed the
             information collected for the February 2012 report and from our
             questionnaire for this report to determine the extent to which we could
             identify fragmentation, overlap, and duplication of solar-related initiatives.
             In addition, we interviewed agency officials responsible for solar-related
             initiatives for follow-up information as needed.

             We conducted this performance audit from September 2011 to August
             2012 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
             standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to
             obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for
             our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
             that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings
             and conclusions based on our audit objectives.


             Solar energy can be used to heat, cool, and power homes and
Background   businesses with a variety of technologies that convert sunlight into usable
             energy. Examples of solar energy technologies include photovoltaics,
             concentrated solar power, and solar hot water. Solar cells, also known as
             photovoltaic cells, convert sunlight directly into electricity. Photovoltaic
             technologies are used in a variety of applications. They can be found on
             residential and commercial rooftops to power homes and businesses;
             utility companies use them for large power stations, and they power
             space satellites, calculators, and watches. Concentrated solar power
             uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight and produce intense heat,
             which is used to generate electricity via a thermal energy conversion
             process; for example, by using concentrated sunlight to heat a fluid, boil
             water with the heated fluid, and channel the resulting steam through a
             turbine to produce electricity. Most concentrated solar power technologies
             are designed for utility-scale operations and are connected to the


             Page 4                                                   GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
electricity-transmission system. Solar hot water technologies use a
collector to absorb and transfer heat from the sun to water, which is
stored in a tank until needed. Solar hot water systems can be found in
residential and industrial buildings.

Innovation in solar energy technology takes place across a spectrum of
activities, which we refer to as technology advancement activities, and
which include basic research, applied research, demonstration, and
commercialization. 7 For purposes of this report, we defined basic
research to include efforts to explore and define scientific or engineering
concepts or is conducted to investigate the nature of a subject without
targeting any specific technology; applied research includes efforts to
develop new scientific or engineering knowledge to create new and
improved technologies; demonstration activities include efforts to operate
new or improved technologies to collect information on their performance
and assess readiness for widespread use; and commercialization efforts
transition technologies to commercial applications by bridging the gap
between research and demonstration activities and venture capital
funding and marketing activities.

Solar energy technology advancement activities are financed through
both public and private investment. According to a Congressional Budget
Office report, without public investment, the private sector’s investment in
technology advancement activities is likely to be inefficiently low from
society’s perspective because firms cannot easily capture the “spillover
benefits” that result, particularly at the early stages of developing a
technology. 8 In these stages, technology advancement activities can
create fundamental knowledge leading to numerous benefits for society


7
 We developed definitions that could be applied broadly to make comparisons across
agencies and that covered the full spectrum of advancement activities. Federal agencies
use various definitions and categories for describing the stages of technology
advancement. For example, NASA and DOE use technology readiness level (TRL)
categories and definitions to measure and communicate technology readiness for first-of-
a-kind technology applications. However, these agencies’ TRL categories and definitions
are not the same. In addition, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provides
federal definitions for the terms basic research, applied research, and development in
OMB Circular A–11, Section 84—Character Classification (Schedule C), but does not
provide definitions for demonstration activities and commercialization activities. During
pretests of our questionnaire, agency officials were able to fit their initiatives’ activities
within our categories and based on our definitions, which validated our use of them.
8
 Congressional Budget Office, Federal Financial Support for the Development and
Production of Fuels and Energy Technologies (Washington, D.C.: March 2012).




Page 5                                                               GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                             as a whole but not necessarily for the firms that invested in the activities.
                             For example, basic research can create general scientific knowledge that
                             is not itself subject to commercialization but that can lead to multiple
                             applications that private companies can produce and sell. As activities get
                             closer to the commercialization stage, the private sector may increase its
                             support because its return on investment increases.


                             We identified 65 solar-related initiatives with a variety of key
Six Agencies                 characteristics at six federal agencies. 9 Over half of the 65 initiatives
Supported Sixty-Five         supported solar projects exclusively; the remaining initiatives supported
Solar-Related                solar energy technologies in addition to other renewable energy
                             technologies. The initiatives demonstrated a variety of key characteristics,
Initiatives with a           including focusing on different types of solar technologies and supporting
Variety of Key               a range of technology advancement activities from basic research to
                             commercialization, with an emphasis on applied research and
Characteristics              demonstration activities. Additionally, the initiatives supported several
                             types of funding recipients including universities, industry, nonprofit
                             organizations, and federal labs and researchers, primarily through grants
                             and contracts. Agency officials reported that they obligated around $2.6
                             billion for the solar projects in these initiatives in fiscal years 2010 and
                             2011.


Over Half of the Agencies’   In fiscal years 2010 and 2011, six federal agencies—DOD, DOE, EPA,
Initiatives Exclusively      NASA, NSF, and USDA—undertook 65 initiatives that supported solar
Supported Solar Energy       energy technology, at least in part. (See app. II for a full list of the
                             initiatives). Of these initiatives, 35 of 65 (54 percent) supported solar
Technology                   projects exclusively and 30 (46 percent) also supported projects that were
                             not solar. For example, in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, DOE’s Solar Energy
                             Technologies Program—Photovoltaic Research and Development initiative,
                             had 263 projects, all of which focused on solar energy. In contrast, in fiscal
                             years 2010 and 2011, DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Research and
                             Development initiative—which supports wind 10 and other renewable


                             9
                              We identified as solar-related those initiatives that supported or could have supported
                             solar technologies, either solely or as part of a larger suite of renewable energy
                             technologies, such as wind or biofuels. For the purposes of this report, we defined an
                             initiative as a program or group of agency activities serving a similar purpose or function
                             that involved solar energy technologies through a specific emphasis or focus, even if solar
                             energy was only one part of a broader effort.
                             10
                              Wind energy is energy produced by the movement of air.




                             Page 6                                                            GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
sources that could be used to produce hydrogen—had 209 projects, 26 of
which were solar projects. Although initiatives support solar energy
technologies, in a given year, they might not support any solar projects. For
example, NSF officials noted that the agency funds research across all
fields and disciplines of science and engineering and that individual
initiatives invite proposals for projects across a broad field of research,
which includes solar-related research in addition to other renewable energy
research. However, in any given year, NSF may not fund proposals that
address solar energy because either no solar proposals were submitted or
the submitted solar-related proposals were not deemed meritorious for
funding based upon competitive, merit-based reviews.

Although more than half of the agencies’ initiatives supported solar
energy projects exclusively, the majority of projects supported by all 65
initiatives were not focused on solar. As shown in table 1, of the 4,996
total projects active in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 under the 65 initiatives,
1,506 (30 percent) were solar projects, and 3,490 (70 percent) were not
solar projects.

Table 1: Initiatives and Projects by Agency, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011

                                                                 Total solar   Percentage of
                         Number of              Total projects     projects     projects that
 Agency                   initiatives              supported     supported        were solar
 DOD                                 27                   623           293              47%
 DOE                                 20                 1,736           906              52%
 EPA                                   1                  239            14               6%
 NASA                                  7                1,326           202              15%
 NSF                                   7                  349            86              25%
 USDA                                  3                  723             5              .7%
 Total                               65                 4,996         1,506              30%
Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.




Page 7                                                                 GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Key Characteristics of      Agencies’ solar-related initiatives supported different types of solar
Solar-Related Initiatives   energy technologies. According to agency officials responding to our
Include Supporting          questionnaire, 47 of the 65 initiatives supported photovoltaic
                            technologies, and 18 supported concentrated solar power; some
Different Solar             initiatives supported both of these technologies or other solar
Technologies, Technology    technologies. 11 For example, NSF’s CHE-DMR-DMS Solar Energy
Advancement Activities,     Initiative (SOLAR) 12 supports both photovoltaic and concentrated solar
and Types of Funding        power technologies, including a project that is developing hybrid
Recipients                  organic/inorganic materials to create ultra-low-cost photovoltaic devices
                            and to advance solar concentrating technologies.

                            These initiatives supported solar energy technologies through multiple
                            technology advancement activities, ranging from basic research to
                            commercialization. As shown in figure 1, five of the six agencies
                            supported at least three of the four technology advancement activities we
                            examined, and four of the six supported all four.




                            11
                              Rather than specifying that the initiative specifically supported photovoltaic or
                            concentrating solar power, some agency officials indicated that their initiative supported
                            “solar” technology as a general category. Others indicated that they supported “other”
                            solar technology, such as DOD’s Novel Power Sources initiative, which supports solar
                            fuels.
                            12
                              According to NSF, the purpose of the CHE-DMR-DMS Solar Energy Initiative is to
                            support interdisciplinary efforts by groups of researchers to address the scientific
                            challenges of highly efficient harvesting, conversion, and storage of solar energy. Such
                            groups must include three or more co-Principal Investigators, of whom one must be a
                            researcher in chemistry, a second in materials, and a third in mathematical sciences, in
                            areas supported by the Divisions of Chemistry (CHE), Materials Research (DMR), and
                            Mathematical Sciences (DMS), respectively.




                            Page 8                                                             GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Figure 1: Number of Agencies’ Solar-Related Initiatives That Supported Technology
Advancement Activities




Note: Because agency initiatives often supported more than one technology advancement activity,
the sum of initiatives across the agencies in this figure will not total 65, the number of initiatives in our
review.




Page 9                                                                         GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Our analysis showed that of the 65 initiatives, 20 initiatives (31 percent)
supported a single type of technology advancement activity; 45 of the
initiatives (69 percent) supported more than one type of technology
advancement activity; and 4 of those 45 initiatives (6 percent) supported
all four. For example, NASA’s Solar Probe Plus Technology Development
initiative—which tests the performance of solar cells in elevated
temperature and radiation environments such as near the sun—
supported applied research exclusively. In contrast, NASA’s Small
Business Innovations Research/Small Business Technology Transfer
Research initiative—which seeks high-technology companies to
participate in government-sponsored research and development efforts
critical to NASA’s mission—supported all four technology advancement
activities. The technology advancement activities supported by the
initiatives were

•   applied research (47 initiatives),

•   demonstration (41 initiatives),

•   basic research (27 initiatives), and

•   commercialization (17 initiatives).

The initiatives supported these technology advancement activities by
providing funding to four types of recipients: universities, industry,
nonprofit organizations, and federal laboratories and researchers. The
initiatives most often supported universities and industry. In many cases,
initiatives provided funding to more than one type of recipient.
Specifically, our analysis showed that of the 65 initiatives, 23 of the
initiatives (35 percent) supported one type of recipient; 21 of the initiatives
(32 percent) provided funding to at least two types of recipients; 17
initiatives (26 percent) supported three types; and 4 initiatives (6 percent)
supported all four. In two cases, agency officials reported that their
initiatives supported “other” types of recipients, which included college
students and military installations.




Page 10                                                  GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Initiatives often supported a variety of recipient types, but individual
agencies more often supported one or two types. As shown in figure 2,
DOE’s initiatives most often supported federal laboratories and
researchers; DOD’s most often supported industry recipients; NASA’s
supported federal laboratories and industry equally; NSF’s supported
universities exclusively. For example, NASA’s Small Business
Innovations Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Research
initiative provided contracts to industry to participate in government-
sponsored research and development for advanced photovoltaic
technologies to improve efficiency and reliability of solar power for space
exploration missions. NSF’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and
Innovation initiative provided grants to universities for, among other
purposes, promoting breakthroughs in computational tools and intelligent
systems for large-scale energy storage suitable for renewable energy
sources such as solar energy.




Page 11                                                GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Figure 2: Number of Agencies’ Solar-Related Initiatives That Supported Various
Recipient Types




Note: Agency initiatives often supported more than one recipient type; therefore, the sum of initiatives
across the agencies in this figure will not total 65, the number of initiatives in our review.




Page 12                                                                    GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
a
 EPA’s P3: People, Prosperity & the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability initiative
supports teams of college students who participate in a competitive grants program in which they
propose the research and development of sustainable designs related to water, energy, agriculture,
the built environment, or materials and chemicals. DOD’s Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration
for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration supports
military installations to integrate renewable energy and storage in order to reduce the risk of extended
electric grid outages.


Federal solar-related initiatives provided funding to these recipients
through multiple mechanisms, often using more than one mechanism per
initiative. As shown in figure 3, the initiatives primarily used grants and
contracts. Of the 65 initiatives, 27 awarded grants, and 36 awarded
contracts; 13 many awarded both. Agency officials also reported funding
solar projects via cooperative agreements, 14 loans, and other
mechanisms. 15




13
  “Contract” means a mutually binding legal relationship obligating the seller to furnish the
supplies or services (including construction) and the buyer to pay for them. It includes all
types of commitments that obligate the Government to an expenditure of appropriated
funds and that, except as otherwise authorized, are in writing. In addition to bilateral
instruments, contracts include (but are not limited to) awards and notices of awards; job
orders or task letters issued under basic ordering agreements; letter contracts; orders,
such as purchase orders, under which the contract becomes effective by written
acceptance or performance; and bilateral contract modifications. Contracts do not include
grants and cooperative agreements covered by 31 U.S.C. 6301, et seq.
14
  Like grants, cooperative agreements involve the provision of financial or other support to
accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by federal statute.
However, cooperative agreements differ from grants in terms of agency involvement,
supervision, and intervention in the project. Whereas grants restrict government
involvement to the minimum necessary to achieve program objectives, under cooperative
agreements, the government and prime recipients share responsibility for the
management, control, direction, and performance of projects.
15
  Officials from eight initiatives at three agencies reported that their initiative supported
“other” funding mechanisms including administrative costs, cash prizes to competition
winners, and laboratory work authorizations.




Page 13                                                                    GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Figure 3: Number of Agencies’ Solar-Related Initiatives Employing Various Funding
Mechanisms




Note: Agency initiatives often used more than one funding mechanism, therefore the sum of initiatives
across the agencies in this figure will not total 65, the number of initiatives in our review.
a
 Officials from eight initiatives at three agencies reported that their initiative supported “other” funding
mechanisms including administrative costs, cash prizes to competition winners, and laboratory work
authorizations.


Agency officials reported that the 65 initiatives as a group used multiple
funding mechanisms, but we found that individual agencies tended to use
primarily one or two funding mechanisms. For example, USDA
exclusively used grants, while DOD tended to use contracts. DOE
reported using grants and cooperative agreements almost equally. For
example, DOE’s Solar ADEPT initiative, an acronym for “Solar Agile
Delivery of Electrical Power Technology,” awards cooperative
agreements to universities, industry, nonprofit organizations, and federal
laboratories and researchers. Through a cooperative agreement, the
initiative supported a project at the University of Colorado at Boulder that
is developing advanced power conversion components that can be
integrated into individual solar panels to improve energy yields. According
to the project description, the power conversion devices will be designed
for use on any type of solar panel. The University of Colorado at Boulder


Page 14                                                                       GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
is partnering with industry and DOE’s National Renewable Energy
Laboratory on this project.

In responding to our questionnaire, officials from the six agencies reported
that they obligated around $2.6 billion for the 1,506 solar projects in fiscal
years 2010 and 2011. These obligations data represented a mix of actual
obligations and estimates. Actual obligations were provided for both years
for 51 of 65 initiatives. Officials provided estimated obligations for 12
initiatives for at least 1 of the 2 years, and officials from another 2 initiatives
were unable to provide any obligations data. 16 Those officials who provided
estimates or were unable to provide obligations data noted that the
accuracy or the availability of the obligations data was limited because
isolating the solar activities from the overall initiative obligations can be
difficult. (See app. II for a full list of the initiatives and their related
obligations.) As shown in table 2, over 90 percent of the funds (about $2.3
billion of $2.6 billion) were obligated by DOE. The majority of DOE’s
obligations (approximately $1.7 billion) were obligated as credit subsidy
costs—the government’s estimated net long-term cost, in present value
terms, of the loans—as part of Title XVII Section 1705 Loan Guarantee
Program from funds appropriated by Congress under the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). 17 Even excluding the
Loan Guarantee Program funds, DOE obligated $661 million, which is
more than was obligated by the other five agencies combined.



16
  Agency officials were asked to provide obligations data for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
In some cases, they provided estimated obligations for both years. In other cases, the
officials were able to provide actual obligations data for 1 year and estimated obligations
for the second. As a result, estimates were provided for 10 initiatives in fiscal year 2010
and for 9 initiatives in 2011. These estimates were for 12 initiatives.
17
  DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program supports both commercialization and deployment
technology advancement activities. The obligations provided by the agency and represented
here do not distinguish between the commercialization and deployment technology
advancement activities. In February 2009, the Recovery Act amended the Energy Policy Act
of 2005, authorizing the Loan Guarantee Program to guarantee loans under section 1705.
Funding was provided to pay credit subsidy costs for section 1705 projects—including those
that support solar technologies—that began construction by September 30, 2011, and met
other requirements. DOE estimated that the $2.5 billion in funding would be sufficient to
provide about $18 billion in guarantees under section 1705. Section 1705 authorized
guarantees for commercial energy projects that employ renewable energy systems, electric
power transmission systems, or leading-edge biofuels that meet certain criteria. Credit
subsidy costs exclude administrative costs and any incidental effects on governmental
receipts or outlays. Present value is the worth of the future stream of returns or costs in
terms of money paid immediately. In calculating present value, prevailing interest rates
provide the basis for converting future amounts into their “money now” equivalents.




Page 15                                                            GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Table 2: Number of Federal Initiatives That Supported Solar Energy Technology for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011, by Agency
and Total Actual and Estimated Obligations

                      Number of initiatives for
Agency               which data were provided               Actual obligations          Estimated obligations            Total obligations
DOE                                          18               $2,338,765,827a                      $4,000,000             $2,342,765,827b
DOD                                          27                   131,923,296                      22,714,000                 154,637,296
NSF                                           7                     47,485,645                      1,275,911                   48,761,556
NASA                                          7                     34,412,352                        405,993                   34,818,345
USDA                                          3                        577,247                              0                      577,247
EPA                                           1                        200,000                              0                      200,000
Total                                        63                $2,553,364,367                    $28,395,904               $2,581,760,271
                                        Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.
                                        a
                                        Of the more than $2.3 billion obligated by DOE in 2010 and 2011 for solar projects, about $1.7 billion
                                        was obligated for credit subsidy costs for loan guarantees.
                                        b
                                         Does not include two agency initiatives for which DOE did not provide obligations data.



                                        The 65 solar-related initiatives are fragmented across six agencies and
Initiatives Are                         many overlap to some degree, but agency officials reported a number of
Fragmented across                       coordination activities to avoid duplication. We found that many initiatives
                                        overlapped in the key characteristics of technology advancement activities,
Agencies and                            types of technologies, types of funding recipients, or broad goals; however,
Sometimes Overlap,                      these areas of overlap do not necessarily lead to duplication of efforts
                                        because the initiatives sometimes differ in meaningful ways or leverage the
but Agency Officials                    efforts of other initiatives, and we did not find clear evidence of duplication
Reported                                among initiatives. Officials from most initiatives reported that they engage
Coordination to Avoid                   in a variety of coordination activities with other solar-related initiatives, at
                                        times specifically to avoid duplication.
Duplication

Fragmented Initiatives                  The 65 solar-related initiatives are fragmented in that they are
Overlapped in Their                     implemented by various offices across six agencies and address the
Technology Advancement                  same broad area of national need. In March 2011, we reported that
                                        fragmentation has the potential to result in duplication of resources. 18
Activities, Types of
                                        However, such fragmentation is, by itself, not an indication that
Technologies, Funding                   unnecessary duplication of efforts or activities exists. For example, in our
Recipients, and Goals                   March 2011 report, we stated that there can be advantages to having
                                        multiple federal agencies involved in a broad area of national need—


                                        18
                                            GAO-11-318SP.




                                        Page 16                                                                   GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
agencies can tailor initiatives to suit their specific missions and needs,
among other things. In particular, DOD is able to focus its efforts on solar
energy technologies that serve its energy security mission, among other
things, and NASA is able to focus its efforts on solar energy technologies
that aid in aeronautics and space exploration, among other things.

As table 3 illustrates, we found that many initiatives overlap because they
support similar technology advancement activities and types of funding
recipients. For example, initiatives that support basic and applied
research most often fund universities, and those initiatives that support
demonstration and commercialization activities most often fund industry.

Table 3: Number of Initiatives Supporting Technology Advancement Activities and
Eligible Funding Recipients

                                                     Technology advancement activities
    Eligible funding                        Basic      Applied Demonstration
    recipient                            research     research     activities          Commercialization
    Federal                                     12          27                   18                             9
    laboratories/researchers
    Industry                                    14          33                   32                         15
    Nonprofit organizations                      2           4                    1                             2
    Universities                                23          36                   27                         11
    Othera                                       1           1                    2                             1
Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.

Note: Many solar-related initiatives support multiple technology advancement activities and multiple
eligible funding recipients. Therefore, the totals in table 3 will not total 65, the number of initiatives in
our review.
a
 Two initiatives supported other types of recipients: EPA’s P3: People, Prosperity & the Planet
Student Design Competition for Sustainability initiative supports teams of college students who
participate in a competitive grants program in which they propose the research and development of
sustainable designs related to water, energy, agriculture, the built environment, or materials and
chemicals. DOD’s Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security
(SPIDERS) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration supports military installations to integrate
renewable energy and storage in order to reduce the risk of extended electric grid outages.


Almost all of the initiatives overlapped to some degree with at least one
other initiative in that they support broadly similar technology
advancement activities, types of technologies, and eligible funding
recipients.

•      Twenty-seven initiatives support applied research for photovoltaic
       technologies by universities. For example, NSF’s Engineering
       Research Center for Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar
       Technologies at Arizona State University pursues cost-competitive


Page 17                                                                         GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
     photovoltaic technologies with sustained market growth. The Air
     Force’s Space Propulsion and Power Generation Research initiative
     partners with various universities to develop improved methods for
     powering spacecraft, including solar cell technologies.

•    Sixteen initiatives support demonstration activities focused on
     photovoltaic technologies by federal laboratories and researchers. For
     example, NASA’s High-Efficiency Space Power Systems initiative
     conducts activities at NASA’s Glenn Research Center to develop
     technologies to provide low cost and abundant power for deep space
     missions, such as highly reliable solar arrays, to enable a crewed
     mission to explore a near Earth asteroid. DOE’s Solar Energy
     Technologies Program (SETP), which includes the Photovoltaic
     Research and Development initiative, works with national laboratories
     such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National
     Laboratories, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge
     Laboratory to advance a variety of photovoltaic technologies to enable
     solar energy to be as cost competitive as traditional energy sources
     by 2015. 19

•    Seven initiatives supported applied research on concentrated solar
     power technologies by industry. For example, DOE’s SETP
     Concentrated Solar Power subprogram, which focuses on reducing
     the cost of and increasing the use of solar power in the United States,
     funded a company to develop the hard coat on reflective mirrors that
     is now being used in concentrated solar power applications. In
     addition, DOD’s Fast Access Spacecraft Testbed Program, which
     concluded in March 2011, funded industry to demonstrate a suite of
     critical technologies including high-efficiency solar cells, sunlight
     concentrating arrays, large deployable structures, and ultra-
     lightweight solar arrays.

Additionally, 40 of the 65 initiatives overlap with at least one other
initiative in that they supported similar broad goals, types of technologies,
and technology advancement activities.




19
  In GAO-12-260, we separated SETP into four initiatives: Concentrated Solar Power,
Photovoltaic Research and Development, Market Transformation, and Systems
Integration.




Page 18                                                        GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
•    Providing lightweight, portable energy sources. Officials from several
     initiatives within DOD reported that their initiatives supported
     demonstration activities with the broad goal of providing lightweight,
     portable energy sources for military applications. For example, the
     goal of the Department of the Army’s Basic Solar Power Generation
     Research initiative is to determine the feasibility and applicability of
     lightweight flexible, foldable solar panels for remote site power
     generation in tactical battlefield applications. Similarly, the goal of the
     Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Engineered Bio-Molecular Nano-
     Devices and Systems initiative is to provide a low-cost, lightweight,
     portable photovoltaic device to reduce the footprint and logistical
     burden on the warfighter.

•    Artificial photosynthesis. Several initiatives at DOE and NSF reported
     having the broad goal of supporting artificial photosynthesis, which
     converts sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into a fuel, such as
     hydrogen. For example, one of DOE’s Energy Innovation Hubs, the
     Fuels from Sunlight Hub, supports basic research to develop an
     artificial photosynthesis system with the specific goals of (1)
     understanding and designing catalytic complexes or solids that
     generate chemical fuel from carbon dioxide and/or water; (2)
     integrating all essential elements, from light capture to fuel formation
     components, into an effective system; and (3) providing a pragmatic
     evaluation of the system under development. NSF’s Catalysis and
     Biocatalysis initiative has a specific goal of developing new materials
     that will be catalysts for converting sunlight into usable energy for
     direct use, or for conversion into electricity, or into fuel for use in fuel
     cell applications.

•    Integrating solar energy into the grid. Officials from several initiatives
     reported focusing on demonstration activities for technologies with the
     broad goal of integrating solar or renewable energies into the grid or
     onto military bases. For example, DOE’s Smart Grid Research and
     Development initiative has a goal of developing smart grid
     technologies, 20 particularly those that help match supply and demand
     in real time, to enable the integration of renewable energies, including
     solar energy, into the grid by helping stabilize variability and facilitate


20
  According to DOE, “smart grid” generally refers to a class of technology to bring utility
electricity delivery systems into the twenty-first century, using computer-based remote
control and automation. These systems are made possible by two-way communication
technology and computer processing that has been used for decades in other industries.




Page 19                                                            GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
    the safe and cost-effective operation by utilities and consumers. The
    goal of this initiative is to achieve a 20 percent improvement in the
    ratio of the average power supplied to the maximum demand for
    power during a specified period by 2020. DOD’s Installation Energy
    Research initiative has a goal of developing better ways to integrate
    solar energy into a grid system, thereby optimizing the benefit of
    renewable energy sources.

Some initiatives may overlap on key characteristics such as technology
advancement activities, types of technologies, types of recipients, or
broad goals, but they also differ in meaningful ways that could result in
specific and complementary research efforts, which may not be apparent
when analyzing the characteristics. For example, an Army official told us
that both the Army and Marine Corps were interested in developing a
flexible solar substrate, which is a photovoltaic panel laminated onto
fabric that can be rolled up and carried in a backpack. The Army
developed technology that included a battery through its initiative, while
the Marine Corps, through a separate initiative, altered the Army’s
technology to create a flexible solar substrate without a battery. Other
initiatives may also overlap on key characteristics, but the efforts
undertaken by their respective projects may complement each other
rather than result in duplication. For example, DOE officials told us that
one solar company may receive funding from multiple federal initiatives
for different components of a larger project, thus simultaneously
supporting a common goal without providing duplicative support.

While we did not find clear instances of duplicative initiatives, it is possible
that there are duplicative activities among the initiatives that could be
consolidated or resolved through enhanced coordination across agencies
and at the initiative level. Also, it is possible that there are instances in
which recipients receive funding from more than one federal source or
that initiatives may fund some activities that would have otherwise sought
and received private funding. Because it was beyond the scope of this
work to look at the vast number of activities and individual awards that are
encompassed in the initiatives we evaluated, we were unable to rule out
the existence of any such duplication of activities or funding.




Page 20                                                  GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
To Avoid Duplication,        Officials from 57 of the 65 initiatives (88 percent) reported coordinating
Agencies Coordinate and      with other solar-related initiatives. 21 Coordination is important because, as
Verify That Recipients Did   we have previously reported, a lack of coordination can waste scarce
                             funds and limit the overall effectiveness of the federal effort. 22 We have
Not Receive Duplicative
                             also previously reported that coordination across programs may help
Funding                      address fragmentation, overlap, and duplication. 23 Officials from nearly all
                             initiatives that we identified as overlapping in their broad goals, types of
                             technologies, and technology advancement activities, reported
                             coordinating with other solar-related initiatives. In October 2005, we
                             identified key practices that can help enhance and sustain federal agency
                             coordination, such as (1) establishing joint strategies, which help align
                             activities, core processes, and resources to accomplish a common
                             outcome; (2) developing mechanisms to evaluate and report on the
                             progress of achieving results, which allow agencies to identify areas for
                             improvement; (3) leveraging resources, which helps obtain additional
                             benefits that would not be available if agencies or offices were working
                             separately; and (4) defining a common outcome, which helps overcome
                             differences in missions, cultures, and established ways of doing
                             business. 24 Agency officials at solar-related initiatives reported
                             coordination activities that are consistent with these key practices, as
                             described below.




                             21
                               Officials were asked to report up to five examples of coordination activities with other
                             solar-related initiatives. See app. III for questionnaire.
                             22
                               GAO, Results-Oriented Government: Practices That Can Help Enhance and Sustain
                             Collaboration among Federal Agencies, GAO-06-15 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 21, 2005).
                             The following additional key practices were noted in this report: (1) agreeing on roles and
                             responsibilities, which clarifies who will do what, organizes joint and individual efforts, and
                             facilitates decision making; (2) establishing compatible policies, procedures, and other
                             means to operate across agency boundaries, which facilitates collaboration; (3) reinforcing
                             agency accountability for collaborative efforts through agency plans and reports, to ensure
                             that goals are consistent; and (4) reinforcing individual accountability for collaborative
                             efforts through performance management systems, which strengthens accountability for
                             results.
                             23
                               GAO-11-318SP and GAO, Employment For People With Disabilities: Little Is Known
                             About the Effectiveness of Fragmented And Overlapping Programs, GAO-12-677
                             (Washington, D.C.: June 29, 2012).
                             24
                                  GAO-06-15.




                             Page 21                                                             GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Some agency officials reported undertaking formal activities within their
own agency to coordinate the efforts of multiple initiatives. For example:

•    Establishing a joint strategy. NSF initiatives reported participating in
     an Energy Working Group, which includes initiatives in the agency’s
     Directorates for Mathematical and Physical Sciences and for
     Engineering. Officials from initiatives we identified as overlapping
     reported participating in the Energy Working Group. NSF formed this
     group to initiate coordination of energy-related efforts between the two
     directorates, including solar efforts, and tasked it with establishing a
     uniform clean, sustainable energy strategy and implementation plan
     for the agency.

•    Developing mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report results. DOD
     officials from initiatives in the Army, Marine Corps, and Navy that we
     identified as overlapping reported they participated in the agency’s
     Energy and Power Community of Interest. 25 The goal of this group is
     to coordinate the R&D activities within DOD. The group is scheduled
     to meet every quarter, but an Army official told us the group has been
     meeting every 3 to 4 weeks recently to produce R&D road maps and
     to identify any gaps in energy and power R&D efforts that need to be
     addressed. Because of the information sharing that occurs during
     these meetings, the official said the risk of such duplication of efforts
     across initiatives within DOD is minimized.

In responding to our questionnaire, agency officials also reported
engaging in formal activities across agencies to coordinate the efforts of
multiple initiatives. For example:

•    Leveraging resources. The Interagency Advanced Power Group
     (IAPG), which includes the Central Intelligence Agency, DOD, DOE,
     NASA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a
     federal membership organization that was established in the 1950s to
     streamline energy efforts across the government and to avoid
     duplicating research efforts. A number of smaller working groups were
     formed as part of this effort, including the Renewable Energy
     Conversion Working Group, which includes the coordination of solar



25
  Although it was not noted in the Air Force initiative’s completed questionnaires, DOD
officials told us the Air Force also participates in the Energy and Power Community of
Interest.




Page 22                                                          GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
    efforts. The working groups are to meet at least once each year, but
    according to a DOD official, working group members often meet more
    often than that in conjunction with outside conferences and
    workshops. The purpose of the meetings is to present each agency’s
    portfolio of research efforts and to inform and ultimately leverage
    resources across the participating agencies. According to IAPG
    documents, group activities allow agencies to identify and avoid
    duplication of efforts. Several of the initiatives that we identified as
    overlapping also reported participating in the IAPG.

•   Leveraging resources and defining a common outcome. DOE’s SETP
    in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
    coordinates with DOE’s Office of Science and the Advanced
    Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) through the SunShot
    Initiative, which according to SunShot officials, was established
    expressly to prevent duplication of efforts while maximizing
    agencywide impact on solar energy technologies. The goal of the
    SunShot Initiative is to reduce the total installed cost of solar energy
    systems by 75 percent. SunShot officials said program managers
    from all three offices participate on the SunShot management team,
    which holds “brain-storming” meetings to discuss ideas for upcoming
    funding announcements and subsequently vote on proposed funding
    announcements. Officials from other DOE offices and other federal
    agencies are invited to participate, with coordination occurring as
    funding opportunities arise in order to leverage resources. Officials
    said meetings may include as few as 25 or as many as 85 attendees,
    depending on the type of project and the expertise required of the
    attending officials. Additionally, DOE and NSF coordinate through the
    SunShot Initiative on the Foundational Program to Advance Cell
    Efficiency (F-PACE), which identifies and funds solar device physics
    and photovoltaic technology research and development that will
    improve photovoltaic cell performance and reduce module cost for
    grid-scale commercial applications. The initiatives that reported
    participating in SunShot activities also included many that we found to
    be overlapping.

•   Developing joint strategies; developing mechanisms to monitor,
    evaluate, and report results; and defining a common outcome. The
    National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) an interagency program,
    which includes DOD, DOE, NASA, NSF, and USDA, among others,
    was established to coordinate the nanotechnology-related activities
    across federal agencies that fund nanoscale research or have a stake
    in the outcome of this research. The NNI is directed to (1) establish
    goals, priorities, and metrics for evaluation for federal nanotechnology


Page 23                                                GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
    research, development, and other activities; (2) invest in federal R&D
    programs in nanotechnology and related sciences to achieve these
    goals; and (3) provide for interagency coordination of federal
    nanotechnology research, development, and other activities. The NNI
    implementation plan states that the NNI will maximize the federal
    investment in nanotechnology and avoid unnecessary duplication of
    efforts. NNI includes a subgroup that focuses on nanotechnology for
    solar energy collection and conversion. Specifically, this subgroup is
    to (1) improve photovoltaic solar electricity generation with
    nanotechnology, (2) improve solar thermal energy generation and
    conversion with nanotechnology, and (3) improve solar-to-fuel
    conversions with nanotechnology.

In addition to the coordination efforts above, officials reported through our
questionnaire that their agencies coordinate through discussions with
other agency officials or as part of the program and project management
and review processes. Some officials said such discussions and reviews
among officials occur explicitly to determine whether there is duplication
of funding occurring. For example, SETP projects include technical merit
reviews, which include peer reviewers from outside of the federal
government, as well as a federal review panel composed of officials from
several agencies. Officials from SETP also participate in the technical
merit reviews of other DOE offices’ projects. ARPA-E initiatives also go
through a review process that includes federal officials and independent
experts. DOE officials told us that an ARPA-E High Energy Advanced
Thermal Storage review meeting, an instance of potential duplicative
funding was found with an SETP project. Funding of the project through
SETP was subsequently removed because of the ARPA-E review
process, and no duplicative funds were expended.

In addition to coordinating to avoid duplication, officials from 59 of the 65
initiatives (91 percent) reported that they determine whether applicants
have received other sources of federal funding for the project for which
they are applying. Twenty-one of the 65 initiatives (32 percent) further
reported that they have policies that either prohibit or permit recipients
from receiving other sources of federal funding for projects. Some
respondents to our questionnaire said it is part of their project
management process to follow up with funding recipients on a regular
basis to determine whether they have subsequently received other
sources of funding. For example, DOE’s ARPA-E prohibits recipients from
receiving duplicative funding from either public or private sources, and
requires disclosure of other sources of funding both at the time of
application, as well as on a quarterly basis throughout the performance of



Page 24                                                 GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                     the award. Even if an agency requires that such funding information be
                     disclosed on applications, applicants may choose not to disclose it. In
                     fact, it was recently discovered that a university researcher did not identify
                     other sources of funding on his federal applications as was required and
                     accepted funding for the same research on solar conversion of carbon
                     dioxide into hydrocarbons from both NSF and DOE. Ultimately, the
                     professor was charged with and pleaded guilty to wire fraud, false
                     statements, and money laundering in connection with the federal
                     research grant.


                     We provided DOD, DOE, EPA, NASA, NSF, and USDA with a draft of this
Agency Comments      report for review and comment. USDA generally agreed with the overall
and Our Evaluation   findings of the report. NASA and NSF provided technical or clarifying
                     comments, which we incorporated as appropriate. DOD, DOE, and EPA
                     indicated that they had no comments on the report.


                     As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly announce the contents of
                     this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days from the
                     report date. At that time, we will send copies to the Secretaries of
                     Agriculture, Defense, and Energy; the Administrators of EPA and NASA;
                     the Director of NSF; the appropriate congressional committees; and other
                     interested parties. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on
                     the GAO website at http://www.gao.gov.

                     If you or your staff members have any questions about this report, please
                     contact me at (202) 512-3841 or ruscof@gao.gov. Contact points for our
                     Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
                     the last page of this report. GAO staff who made key contributions to this
                     report are listed in appendix IV.




                     Frank Rusco
                     Director
                     Natural Resources and Environment




                     Page 25                                                 GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology
             Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




             The objectives of our report were to identify (1) solar-related initiatives
             supported by federal agencies in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 and key
             characteristics of those initiatives and (2) the extent of fragmentation,
             overlap, and duplication, if any, among federal solar-related initiatives, as
             well as the extent of coordination among these initiatives.

             To inform our objectives, we reviewed a February 2012 GAO report that
             was conducted to identify federal agencies’ renewable energy initiatives,
             which included solar-related initiatives, and examine the federal roles the
             agencies’ initiatives support. 1 The GAO report on renewable energy-
             related initiatives identified nearly 700 initiatives 2 that were implemented
             in fiscal year 2010 across the federal government, of which 345 initiatives
             supported solar energy. For purposes of this report, we only included
             those solar-related initiatives that we determined were focused on
             research and development (R&D), and commercialization, which we
             defined as follows:

             •   Research and development. Efforts ranging from defining scientific
                 concepts to those applying and demonstrating new and improved
                 technologies.

             •   Commercialization. Efforts to bridge the gap between research and
                 development activities and the marketplace by transitioning
                 technologies to commercial applications.

             We did not include those initiatives that focused solely on deployment
             activities, which include efforts to facilitate or achieve widespread use of
             existing technologies either in the commercial market or for nonmarket
             uses such as defense, through their construction, operation, or use.
             Initiatives that focus on deployment activities include a variety of tax
             incentives. We also narrowed our list to only those initiatives that focused
             research on advancing or developing new and innovative solar
             technologies.




             1
              GAO-12-260.
             2
              For purposes of GAO-12-260, and therefore this report as well, a renewable energy
             initiative is defined as a program or group of agency activities serving a similar purpose or
             function that involved renewable energy through a specific emphasis or focus, even if
             renewable energy was only one part of a broader effort.




             Page 26                                                            GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




Next, we shared our list with agency officials and provided our definitions
of R&D and commercialization. We asked officials to determine whether
the list was complete and accurate for fiscal year 2010 initiatives that met
our criteria, whether those initiatives were still active in fiscal year 2011,
and whether there were any new initiatives in fiscal year 2011. If officials
wanted to remove an initiative from our list, we asked for additional
information to support the removal. In total, we determined that there
were 65 initiatives that met our criteria.

To identify and describe the key characteristics of solar-related initiatives
implemented by federal agencies, we developed a questionnaire to
collect information from officials of those 65 federal solar energy-related
initiatives. The questionnaire was prepopulated with information that was
obtained from the agencies for GAO’s renewable energy report including
program descriptions, type of solar technology supported, funding
mechanisms, and type of funding recipients. Questions included the type
of technology advancement activities, obligations for solar activities in
fiscal years 2010 and 2011, initiative-wide and solar-specific goals, and
coordination efforts with other solar-related initiatives. We conducted
pretests with officials of three different initiatives at three different
agencies to check that (1) the questions were clear and unambiguous, (2)
terminology was used correctly, (3) the questionnaire did not place an
undue burden on agency officials, (4) the information could feasibly be
obtained, and (5) the questionnaire was comprehensive and unbiased. An
independent GAO reviewer also reviewed a draft of the questionnaire
prior to its administration. On the basis of feedback from these pretests
and independent review, we revised the survey in order to improve its
clarity.

After completing the pretests, we administered the questionnaire. We
sent questionnaires to the appropriate agency liaisons in an attached
Microsoft Word form, who in turn sent the questionnaires to the
appropriate officials. We received questionnaire responses for each
initiative and, thus, had a response rate of 100 percent. After reviewing
the responses, we conducted follow-up e-mail exchanges or telephone
discussions with agency officials when responses were unclear or
conflicting. When necessary, we used the clarifying information provided
by agency officials to update answers to questions to improve the
accuracy and completeness of the data.

Because this effort was not a sample survey, it has no sampling errors.
However, the practical difficulties of conducting any survey may introduce
errors, commonly referred to as nonsampling errors. For example,


Page 27                                                  GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




difficulties in interpreting a particular question, sources of information
available to respondents, or entering data into a database or analyzing
them can introduce unwanted variability into the survey results. However,
we took steps to minimize such nonsampling errors in developing the
questionnaire—including using a social science survey specialist for
design and pretesting the questionnaire. We also minimized the
nonsampling errors when collecting and analyzing the data, including
using a computer program for analysis, and using an independent analyst
to review the computer program. Finally, we verified the accuracy of a
small sample of keypunched records by comparing them with their
corresponding questionnaires, and we corrected the errors we found.
Less than 0.5 percent of the data items we checked had random
keypunch errors that would not have been corrected during data
processing. To conduct our analysis, a technologist compared all of the
initiatives and identified overlapping initiatives as those sharing at least
one common technology advancement activity, one common technology,
and having similar goals. A second technologist then completed the same
analysis, and the two then compared their findings and, where they
differed, came to a joint decision as to which initiatives broadly
overlapped on their technology advancement activities, technologies, and
broad goals. If the two technologists could not come to an agreement, a
third technologist determined whether there was overlap. To assess the
reliability of obligations data, we asked officials of initiatives that
comprised over 90 percent of the total obligations follow-up questions on
the data systems used to generate that data. While we did not verify all
responses, on the basis of our application of recognized survey design
practices and follow-up procedures, we determined that the data used in
this report were of sufficient quality for our purposes.

We conducted this performance audit from September 2011 to August
2012 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to
obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for
our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings
and conclusions based on our audit objectives.




Page 28                                                GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                            Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                            Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                            Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations


Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations
                                            Tables 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 provide descriptions, by agency, of the 65
                                            initiatives that support solar energy technologies and the obligations for
                                            those initiatives’ solar activities in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

Table 4: Department of Defense Solar-Related Initiatives

                                                                                                                             FY 2010 and
Initiative name and                                                                                                   FY 2011 total (actual
implementing                                                                                                               and estimated)
organization              Description                                                                                          obligations
Air Force
Aviation Propulsion /     Renewable fuels evaluation is conducted as part of component testing for new                          $7,086,000
Power Generation          propulsion and power systems. The initiative’s goals are to carry out research,
Research                  development, and demonstration efforts to integrate high-efficiency, lightweight, and
                          flexible solar cells into operational small unmanned air systems in order to extend
                          flight endurance. The Air Force also conducts congressional or committee-directed
                          work.
Other Power               This initiative comprises several basic research efforts related to improving materials               8,100,000a
Generation Research       to be used in producing renewable energy. Renewable energy-related research
                          under this program includes, for example, efforts to design organic solar cells and to
                          design new nanostructures for conversion of solar energy to electricity. Solar-related
                          research includes developing the capability to produce low-cost, lightweight, flexible,
                          and efficient solar cells with numerous military applications including powering of
                          autonomous unmanned air vehicles, remote sensors, and deployed systems. A
                          variety of next-generation, advanced solar cell technologies are being pursued
                          including both polymer-based and nanoparticle-based devices.
Other Research and        This area includes several Air Force research efforts, most of which are                               6,290,643
Development Efforts       congressional or committee-directed, that involve renewable energy. For example,
                          as part of the Support Systems Development Program’s Logistics Systems
                          Development Project, Air Force efforts include alternate energy research and
                          integration, and demonstration and validation of renewable energy technology.
                          Specific projects will validate that on-base or near-base deployment of thin-film solar
                          photovoltaic arrays and concentrated solar designs are a cost effective solution that
                          will allow the Air Force installations at-large to achieve renewable energy mandates,
                          while also providing a secure clean and reliable back-up source of energy.
Power Generation          This area of Air Force research includes activities to reduce costs and improve the                   2,270,000a
Research for Facilities   performance and sustainability of Air Force operations. Renewable energy-related
and Deployed              research in this area includes specific efforts to develop higher efficiency solar power
Locations                 technologies for deployed applications. Also, as part of programs under this area, the
                          Air Force is charged with administering some congressional or committee-directed
                          work that, in some instances, includes a renewable energy-related focus. The goal
                          for the Solar Integrated Power Shelter System is to generate 3kW power and reduce
                          demands by 50% to allow cooling two shelters with a single environmental control
                          unit. In this project, deployable shelters are retrofit with improved or emerging shelter
                          liner (insulation), shelter fly, and/or thin photovoltaic modules and evaluated for their
                          effectiveness to improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption.




                                            Page 29                                                              GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                         Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                         Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                         Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




                                                                                                                          FY 2010 and
Initiative name and                                                                                                FY 2011 total (actual
implementing                                                                                                            and estimated)
organization          Description                                                                                           obligations
Space Propulsion /    This area of Air Force research includes several programs with work that includes                      17,517,562
Power Generation      developing improved methods for powering spacecraft. Renewable energy-related
Research              research under this area is focused on the use of solar power with the goal of
                      developing solar cells that are higher in efficiency and lower in mass while providing
                      flexibility for integration into novel array structures. For example, under the Space
                      Technology and Advanced Spacecraft Technology Programs, the Air Force is
                      working to develop and improve solar cell technologies for space applications. Also,
                      as part of this area of research, the Air Force is charged with administering some
                      congressional or committee-directed work that, in some instances, includes a
                      renewable energy-related focus.
Army
Basic Solar Power     Army research efforts in this area involve two programs that fund applied research                      5,770,928
Generation Research   on technologies in areas such as electronic and power components, as well as
                      demonstration of more advanced military engineering technologies. Renewable
                      energy-related research activities in this area include investigating the use of solar
                      energy technologies for various Army applications. These efforts are funded as part
                      of congressional or committee-directed work that the Army is charged with
                      administering. For example, in fiscal year 2010, the Army funded research on
                      advanced flexible solar photovoltaic technologies, among other projects related to
                      solar energy.
Installation Energy   This area of Army research includes programs that develop and demonstrate military                        850,500
Research              engineering technologies, among other efforts. Renewable energy-related research
                      activities in this area involve developing energy technology solutions, including
                      renewable energy, for fixed installations and enduring forward operating bases. For
                      example, as part of the Military Engineering Technology Program, the Army
                      researches technologies necessary for secure, energy efficient, sustainable military
                      installations, including developing methods to optimize sustainable energy
                      generation and integrate renewable energy resources. Also, as part of these
                      programs, the Army is charged with administering some congressional or committed-
                      directed work that, in some instances, includes a renewable energy-related focus.
                      Specific solar goals for this initiative include developing better ways to integrate solar
                      energy into a grid system and improving the conversion efficiency of solar
                      photovoltaic devices for creating novel photovoltaic configurations allowing flexible
                      mounting of solar cells onto Army systems.
Intelligent Power     Army research efforts in this area span several programs that focus on technology                      1,372,000a
Distribution System   development and demonstration to meet a variety of military needs. Renewable
Research              energy-related research activities in this area focus on developing power distribution
                      systems that can accept inputs from a variety of energy sources, including
                      alternative/renewable energy sources. For example, as part of the Army’s work on
                      the Transportable Hybrid Electric Power Station project, the Army is demonstrating
                      intelligent power management technology that helps incorporate renewable energy
                      sources to reduce the use of fossil fuel generators. Also, as part of these programs,
                      the Army is charged with administering some congressional or committed-directed
                      work that, in some instances, includes a renewable energy-related focus. For
                      example, in fiscal year 2010, this work included an effort to build and demonstrate a
                      microgrid with plug-in electric vehicles to determine the technical readiness of
                      microgrids to accept power from various inputs while charging the selected vehicles
                      and providing power to other applications.




                                         Page 30                                                              GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                          Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                          Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                          Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




                                                                                                                        FY 2010 and
Initiative name and                                                                                              FY 2011 total (actual
implementing                                                                                                          and estimated)
organization            Description                                                                                       obligations
National Defense        This Army research effort includes funding for the National Defense Center for                     1,775,000a
Center for Energy and   Energy and Environment, which was established in 1990 to address high-priority
Environment             environmental problems for DOD, other government agencies, and the industrial
                        community. The center is used to demonstrate and validate environmentally
                        acceptable technologies and assist in the training of potential users as part of the
                        technology transfer process. The center is managed by the Army on behalf of the
                        Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment.
                        The center conducts work at the request of multiple stakeholders, including, among
                        other topics, research related to alternative fuels and renewable energy. While not
                        specifically focused or directly related to solar energy research and/or technology,
                        the goal of this program in terms of solar energy is to demonstrate renewable energy
                        solutions (that include solar technology) and capture technology performance and
                        cost-related data that can be used by the customer as a basis for determining if the
                        technology is viable for their installation or operational needs.
Other Power             Army research efforts in this area encompass two programs; one that focuses on                        389,000
Generation Research     fundamental research to provide new concepts and technologies to meet the Army’s
                        future needs, and another that supports advanced development of technologies to
                        reduce the logistics burden. Renewable energy-related research activities in this
                        area focus on using renewable energy sources for power generation. However,
                        unlike Army renewable energy-related research in other areas, research in this area
                        examines renewable energy sources in general and is not specifically targeted to
                        certain renewable energy sources. For example, under the Defense Research
                        Sciences Program, the Army funds the investigation of a variety of approaches for
                        novel energy harvesting (e.g., from light, heat, vibration, isotope, and biological
                        energy sources). Alternatively, under the Soldier Support and Survivability Program,
                        the Army has funded demonstrations of improvements to combat feeding equipment
                        to improve the energy efficiency of refrigeration equipment to allow the equipment to
                        be powered by renewable energy sources (e.g., solar power). Current solar-related
                        activities include efforts to improve the energy conversion efficiency of photovoltaic
                        devices to create novel photovoltaic configurations allowing flexible and conformal
                        mounting of solar cells onto Army systems. Thermophotovoltaic energy sources are
                        also being examined.
Other Vehicle Energy    Army research in this area involves the Combat Vehicle and Automotive Technology                    3,526,831
Storage Research        Program, which funds development of automotive technologies through various
                        efforts, including, for example, the National Automotive Center—a shared
                        government and industry program to leverage commercial investments in automotive
                        technology research for Army ground combat and tactical vehicle applications.
                        Renewable energy-related research in this area focuses on advancing vehicle
                        energy storage technologies that will allow vehicles to incorporate
                        alternative/renewable energy into hybrid electric vehicles.




                                          Page 31                                                           GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                             Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                             Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                             Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




                                                                                                                             FY 2010 and
Initiative name and                                                                                                   FY 2011 total (actual
implementing                                                                                                               and estimated)
organization              Description                                                                                          obligations
Tactical Electric Power   Army efforts in this area span several research programs that develop, mature, and                     3,100,000
Research                  accelerate technologies to meet a variety of military needs. Renewable energy-
                          related research activities in this area focus on incorporating renewable energy
                          technologies into tactical electric power generation. For example, the Combating
                          Terrorism-Technology Development Program includes an effort to develop a
                          Transportable Hybrid Electric Power Station that incorporates solar and wind energy
                          technologies to reduce use of fossil fuel generators. As part of these programs, the
                          Army is charged with administering some congressional or committee-directed work
                          that, in some instances, includes a renewable energy-related focus. For example, in
                          fiscal year 2010, this work included developing a flexible solar cell for a man portable
                          power generator.
Marine Corps
Enhanced Company          This initiative represents a series of Marine Corps efforts to examine the training,                  18,790,000
Operations Small Unit     tactics, equipment, and other aspects of the operations of a Marine Corps infantry
Power and Logistics       company in order to identify ways to improve the ability of the company to operate
Demand Reduction          independently. In fiscal year 2010, these efforts included assessment of renewable
                          energy options to include the use of a reformed methanol fuel cell to support a small
                          unit electrical power system that could reduce the number, weight, and types of
                          replacement batteries carried by the Marine Corps. Another renewable energy-
                          related effort under this initiative involves examining ways to reduce the logistics
                          demand of a company-sized unit in a variety of ways, including the use of renewable
                          energy technologies. Solar energy is one of several areas explored for the Logistics
                          Demand Reduction initiative. All of these efforts support the goal identified in the
                          Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Strategy of meeting operational demand with
                          renewable energy.
Experimental Forward      This initiative is a Marine Corps process that brings together stakeholders from                       1,886,000
Operating Base            across the Marine Corps’ requirements, acquisitions, and technology development
                          communities to quickly evaluate and deploy technologies to reduce the need for
                          battlefield “liquid logistics” (fuel and water) and to inform requirements development.
                          For example, in August 2010, a Marine unit tested three renewable technologies—
                          the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System, the Solar Portable Alternative
                          Communications Energy System, and the Zerobase Solar Regenerator.
Navy
Future Naval              The Future Naval Capabilities Program represents the requirements-driven, delivery                      700,000a
Capabilities Program      oriented portion of the Navy’s Science and Technology portfolio. Future Naval
                          Capabilities investments respond to Naval Science and Technology Gaps that are
                          generated by the Navy and Marine Corps after receiving input from Naval Research
                          Enterprise stakeholders. The Future Naval Capabilities Program focuses on high-
                          priority capabilities and transitioning developed products to naval acquisition and naval
                          forces. This program focuses on taking technologies that have reached the applied or
                          advanced technology development research stages, and maturing them for transition
                          to Naval acquisition programs. Two areas of focus under the program include (1)
                          “Lightening the Load” and (2) “Battlefield Power.” In fiscal years 2010 and 2011, the
                          Advanced Power Generation product did have one solar-related initiative: the Ground
                          Renewable Expeditionary Energy System (GREENS). This portable hybrid
                          photovoltaic/battery power system was developed and demonstrated for the Marine
                          Corps and was subsequently deployed forward as part of Operation Enduring
                          Freedom. The solar research goal under this initiative was to develop and demonstrate
                          a photovoltaic energy system capable of providing 300 watts of power continuously for
                          24 hours per day/7 days per week and suitable for fielding by the Marine Corps.



                                             Page 32                                                             GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                              Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                              Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                              Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




                                                                                                                              FY 2010 and
Initiative name and                                                                                                    FY 2011 total (actual
implementing                                                                                                                and estimated)
organization             Description                                                                                            obligations
Other Power              This initiative has a goal of discovering and developing new power generation                           6,825,000a
Generation Research      materials, devices and systems, maturing power generation concepts capable of
                         meeting application specific metrics and constraints to Technology Readiness Level
                         (TRL) 6, and transitioning those new energy storage technology capabilities to Navy
                         and Marine Corps acquisition program offices for final maturation and fielding (TRL
                         7-9). The goal for this solar initiative is to develop low cost, lightweight, rollable, and
                         easily deployable solar cells that can greatly reduce the logistics burden of supplying
                         power to the Marine Corps and could also power remote sensors for the Navy.
                         These goals include the development of new active materials by computation,
                         organic synthesis, and characterization, as well as materials and technology scale-
                         up and development of devices with improved stability.
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Engineered Bio-          This initiative is part of the Materials Processing Technology project under Alternate                   3,256,201
Molecular Nano-          Power Sources which includes the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Devices and Systems      (DARPA) Portable Photovoltaic Program. Other programs in the Alternate Power
                         Sources heading are not solar-related. The overall goal of DARPA’s Portable
                         Photovoltaic Program is to provide a low-cost, lightweight, portable photovoltaic
                         device that has high-power conversion efficiency in a form factor amenable to low-
                         cost production on flexible substrates for widespread use by DOD forces to reduce
                         the footprint and logistical burden on the warfighter.
Environmental Security This initiative is a DOD demonstration/validation program, under which DOD                                10,400,000
Technology               provides funding to take environmental and energy technologies that are ready to be
Certification Program – demonstrated and places them at DOD facilities for the purpose of collecting data on
Energy and Water         cost and performance to see if the technologies should be brought to scale and
Program                  used. Demonstration projects are selected from across the federal government and
                         the private sector using a competitive solicitation process. There are five program
                         areas under the initiative, including an Energy and Water Program, which provides
                         funding for demonstrations of renewable energy technologies, among other types of
                         energy and water projects. The demonstrations help increase the speed and scale of
                         commercialization of emerging renewable energy technologies by helping to build
                         acceptance of the technologies through partnerships between technology developers
                         and DOD. Solar energy, including technologies such as solar thermal technologies
                         for hot water and HVAC applications, is a subset of efforts to find cost competitive
                         distributed energy generation that will improve DOD installation energy security.
Fast Access Spacecraft The Fast Access Spacecraft Testbed (FAST) Program was part of the Space                                    3,060,000
Testbed Program          Programs and Technology project. Its goal was to demonstrate a suite of critical
                         technologies, including high-efficiency solar cells, sunlight concentrating arrays, and
                         ultra lightweight solar arrays. Combined with electric propulsion, these technologies
                         would enable fast-transfer roaming satellites with nearly five times the fuel efficiency
                         of conventional chemical propulsion.




                                              Page 33                                                             GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                          Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                          Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                          Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




                                                                                                                           FY 2010 and
Initiative name and                                                                                                 FY 2011 total (actual
implementing                                                                                                             and estimated)
organization            Description                                                                                          obligations
Mobile Smart Power      This initiative was started to demonstrate alternative power generation options for                    1,650,000
Initiative              small forward operating bases. These efforts included assessing the performance,
                        safety, reliability, and maintainability of a hybrid photovoltaic battery system. Special
                        Operations Command evaluated several different systems as part of this initiative
                        under two programs: one that provides funding to demonstrate and evaluate
                        emerging/advanced technologies for Special Operations Forces; and another that
                        provides funding to develop and deploy special capabilities for Special Operations
                        Forces to perform intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance. Special Operations
                        Command sought to demonstrate that larger scale solar power (28kW - 56kW)
                        systems could save fuel and lives at forward operating bases in austere locations
                        such as Afghanistan.
Net Zero Plus Joint     This program has demonstrated various technologies to reduce fuel use at forward                       2,442,000
Capability Technology   operating bases. It leverages research and development from federal and private
Demonstration Program   labs and available technologies in, for example, alternative fuels, novel power
                        storage, and innovative power generation. Technologies ranged from energy efficient
                        structures to smart power management. The renewable energy technologies
                        consisted of solar panels built into tent structures and 200 kW solar panel arrays
                        integrated with the microgrid to reduce fuel usage. The program is part of the Joint
                        Capability Technology Demonstration Program, which demonstrates joint solutions to
                        prioritized combatant commander capability gaps and speeds solutions to
                        warfighters in 18 to 36 months. The Joint Capability Technology Demonstration
                        Program goal for solar energy technology included incorporation of flexible
                        photovoltaic panels to utilize solar energy as a renewable energy source to provide
                        electricity that would normally be supplied by conventional generators.
Novel Power Sources     This initiative is part of the Materials Processing Technology project, which seeks to                16,511,706
                        develop materials that will lower the cost, increase the performance, or enable new
                        missions for military platforms and systems. Under this initiative, DARPA explores
                        new materials and processes to efficiently generate and control power, with a focus
                        on energy sources that are compatible with military fuels. Renewable energy efforts
                        under this initiative include developing and integrating new processes to convert
                        carbon dioxide and water into syngas and cellulosic biomass into synthetic fuel for
                        use in fuels cells, biomass conversion systems, and solar fuel systems.
Photovoltaic Power      As part of the work under its Advanced Technology Development Program, Special                         1,970,851
Supply                  Operations Command is charged with administering some congressional or
                        committee-directed work. In some instances, this work includes a renewable energy-
                        related focus. For example, in fiscal year 2010, this work included conducting
                        research and development of technologies to improve the efficiency of solar
                        photovoltaic panels for small scale charging systems. The goal of this project is to
                        develop increased efficiency in photovoltaic cell technology for Special Operations
                        Command applications, including developing various photovoltaic compositions to
                        increase solar cell conversion efficiency and to assess their ability to power
                        autonomous sensors.
Photovoltaic Ribbon     As part of the work under its Materials Processing Technology project, the Defense                     2,869,963
Solar Cell Technology   Advanced Research Projects Agency is charged with administering some
Project                 congressional or committee-directed work. In some instances, this work includes a
                        renewable energy-related focus. For example, in fiscal year 2010, this work included
                        conducting research into photovoltaic ribbon solar cell technology. The goal of this
                        project is to create a new process for synthesis of thin, flexible, high‐quality solar
                        cells. The solar cells will be appropriate for coupling with prismatic holographic films
                        for the purpose of creating lightweight, flexible modules.




                                          Page 34                                                              GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                           Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                           Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                           Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




                                                                                                                          FY 2010 and
Initiative name and                                                                                                FY 2011 total (actual
implementing                                                                                                            and estimated)
organization             Description                                                                                        obligations
Smart Power              SPIDERS will demonstrate cyber-secure “smart” microgrids with demand side                            4,421,000
Infrastructure           management and integration of renewable energy and storage on military
Demonstration for        installations, in partnership with Department of Homeland Security and Department
Energy Reliability and   of Energy. SPIDERS will reduce the “unacceptably high risk” of extended electric grid
Security (SPIDERS)       outages by developing the capability to “island” installations while maintaining
Joint Capability         operational surety and security. SPIDERS will protect task critical assets from loss of
Technology               power due to cyber attack, integrate renewable (solar, wind) and other distributed
Demonstration            energy generation concepts to power task critical assets in times of emergency,
                         sustain critical operations during prolonged power outages, and manage installation
                         electrical power and consumption efficiency to reduce petroleum demand and carbon
                         “bootprint”.
Very High Efficiency     This program addresses a variety of issues with improving the efficiency of                          4,753,111
Solar Cell Program       photovoltaic technologies, including the development of high-efficiency design
                         concepts; new and innovative components, materials, and processes necessary to
                         achieve these concepts; and scalable fabrication processes that allow industrial
                         manufacturing of an affordable product. In particular, work under this program seeks
                         to raise the efficiency of a new class of solar modules to 40 percent and deliver
                         engineering prototypes. The technology would be used to power both permanent and
                         mobile bases, as well as to reduce the logistical burden of supplying energy (e.g.,
                         batteries and fuel) in the field.
Vulture Program          The objective of the Vulture program is to develop and demonstrate the technology                   17,053,000
                         to enable an airborne payload to remain persistently on-station, uninterrupted and
                         unreplenished, for over 5 years performing strategic and tactical communications,
                         position/navigation/timing and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
                         missions over an area of interest. Vulture technology enables a retaskable,
                         persistent pseudo-satellite capability, in an aircraft package. The program is pursuing
                         technologies that advance the state of the art for a self-contained solar regenerative
                         closed cycle energy system to be used to propel and provide prime power on long
                         endurance air platforms. To this end, the program plans to integrate and test
                         commercially available technologies that include solar and solid oxide fuel cells.
Total                                                                                                                     $154,637,296
                                           Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.
                                           a
                                            All or part of the agency-provided obligations are estimated.




                                           Page 35                                                            GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                             Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                             Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                             Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




Table 5: Department of Energy Solar-Related Initiatives

                                                                                                                           FY 2010 and
                                                                                                                    FY 2011 total (actual
Initiative name and                                                                                                      and estimated)
implementing office      Description                                                                                         obligations
Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy
ARPA-E Funding           Under this initiative, ARPA-E provides funding to support research on a variety of                   $5,000,272
Opportunity              energy ideas and technologies. This research funding is focused on applicants with
Announcement 1a          well-formed research and development plans for potentially high-impact concepts or
                         new technologies, including renewable technologies.
High Energy Advanced Through this initiative, ARPA-E seeks to develop revolutionary cost-effective thermal                             0
Thermal Storage          energy storage technologies in three focus areas: (1) high temperature storage
          a
(HEATS)                  systems to deliver solar electricity more efficiently around the clock and allow nuclear
                         and fossil baseload resources the flexibility to meet peak demands, (2) fuel produced
                         from the sun’s heat, and (3) HVAC systems that use thermal storage to dramatically
                         improve the driving range of electric vehicles.
Solar Solar Agile        Solar ADEPT is ARPA-E’s portion of the SunShot collaboration. SunShot leverages                               0
Delivery of Electrical   the unique strengths across DOE to reduce the total cost of utility-scale solar
Power Technology         systems by 75 percent by 2017. If successful, this collaboration would deliver solar
(Solar ADEPT)a           electricity at roughly 6 cents a kW hour—a cost competitive with fossil fuels. Solar
                         ADEPT focuses on integrating advanced power electronics into solar panels and
                         solar farms to extract and deliver energy more efficiently. Specifically, ARPA-E aims
                         to invest in key advances in magnetic, semiconductor switches, and charge storage,
                         which could reduce power conversion costs by up to 50 percent for utilities and 80
                         percent for homeowners.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Emerging Technologies Through this initiative, EERE works to develop cost-effective technologies to meet                       5,195,000
                         the thermal energy needs of residential and commercial buildings, including through
                         solar heating and cooling. Specific activities related to renewable energy include
                         funding federal researchers and national labs to analyze technology advancement of
                         solar domestic water heating, space heating, and space cooling, and determine
                         future needs for creating marketable net zero energy designs—designs which allow
                         buildings to produce as much energy as they use.
                      b
Hydrogen Fuel R&D        This initiative focuses on R&D to develop hydrogen production, delivery, and storage                 10,102,840
                         technologies, including those from hydrogen produced using renewable energy
                         sources such as biomass, solar, wind, etc.
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell This initiative focuses on crosscutting functions for hydrogen and fuel cell                                    0
Technologies             technologies such as manufacturing, technology validation, safety codes and
Crosscutting Activitiesb standards, and education. It also analyzes technologies to identify gaps and help
                         direct future research and development.
National Renewable       Projects through this initiative serve as the basis for proposing new projects and/or                 6,019,591
Energy Laboratory’s      programs to DOE by developing and demonstrating a new capability or establishing
Laboratory Directed      proof-of-principle at the forefront of science and technology. Projects, which must
Research and             adhere to the laboratory-directed research and development policy, are selected
Development              based on technical merit and strategic alignment and are screened to assure they
                         are not duplicative of program efforts.




                                             Page 36                                                           GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                             Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                             Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                             Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




                                                                                                                             FY 2010 and
                                                                                                                      FY 2011 total (actual
Initiative name and                                                                                                        and estimated)
implementing office       Description                                                                                          obligations
Solar Energy              This initiative focuses on concentrating solar power technologies, which use mirrors                  78,722,511
Technologies Program      to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect the solar energy and
– Concentrated Solar      convert it to heat. Goals include increasing the use of these technologies in the
Power                     United States, making them competitive in the intermediate power market—which
                          operates between the continuously operating baseload market and the high demand
                          only peak market—by 2015, and developing advanced technologies that will reduce
                          systems and storage costs to make them competitive in the baseload power market
                          by 2020. Efforts include contracts with industry, advanced research at its national
                          laboratories, and collaboration with other government agencies to remove barriers to
                          deploying the technology.
Solar Energy              This initiative advances photovoltaic technology with a goal of achieving grid parity—              260,829,432
Technologies Program      the point at which alternative means of generating electricity are as cheap as
– Photovoltaic R&D        traditional sources—by 2015. To that end, DOE is investing in approaches ranging
                          from basic cell technologies to total system development that demonstrate progress
                          toward minimizing the life cycle cost of solar energy. In conducting this work, DOE is
                          partnering with its national laboratories, start-up companies, universities, and
                          integrated industry teams.
Solar Energy              This initiative identifies and addresses market barriers to make it possible for states,              39,608,824
Technologies Program      cities, and utilities to adopt solar energy programs. It develops specific activities and
– Market                  external partnerships to address those barriers—for example, opening the grid for
Transformation            electricity produced by solar power plants.
Solar Energy              Under this initiative, DOE works with the solar industry, utilities, and national                     76,764,397
Technologies Program      laboratories to address the barriers to large-scale deployment of solar technologies.
– Systems Integration     It focuses on understanding and removing the regulatory, technical, and economic
                          barriers to integrating solar electricity into the electric grid.
Loan Programs Office
Title XVII Section 1703   Section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized DOE to                                  0
Loan Guarantee            provide loans to support innovative clean energy technologies that are typically
Program                   unable to obtain conventional private financing due to high technology risks. In
                          addition, the technologies must avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or
                          emissions of greenhouse gases. Eligible technologies under this initiative included
                          biomass, solar, wind, hydropower, and alternative fuel vehicles, among others.
                          Under section 1703, borrowers were to pay DOE for the credit subsidy costs.
                          However, DOE noted that, once the section 1705 Loan Guarantee Program was
                          established under the Recovery Act specifically to support renewable energy and
                          certain other projects, renewable energy projects have been supported under the
                          section 1705 Loan Guarantee Program rather than the section 1703 Loan Guarantee
                          Program.
Title XVII Section 1705   The Recovery Act added section 1705 to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Section                      1,681,764,960
Loan Guarantee            1705 authorizes a temporary program to provide loan guarantees for certain
Programc                  renewable energy systems, electric power transmission systems and innovative
                          biofuel projects that began construction no later than September 30, 2011. To
                          implement this authority, DOE established the Financial Institution Partnership
                          Program, a risk-sharing partnership between DOE and qualified finance
                          organizations. Through this program, DOE pays the credit subsidy costs of loan
                          guarantees using funds appropriated for this purpose and guarantees up to 80
                          percent of a loan provided for a renewable energy generation project by qualified
                          financial institutions. In addition, DOE deployed the section 1705 authority to fund
                          eligible innovative solar projects through the Federal Financing Bank.




                                             Page 37                                                             GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                             Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                             Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                             Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




                                                                                                                             FY 2010 and
                                                                                                                      FY 2011 total (actual
Initiative name and                                                                                                        and estimated)
implementing office        Description                                                                                         obligations
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy
Energy Storage             This initiative focuses on storing electricity generated by renewable energy sources                 4,000,000a
                           during periods of low demand and discharging it during periods of high demand. It
                           also focuses on connecting renewable sources to the grid, allowing transmission
                           lines to be more effectively utilized, and supporting demonstration projects. The
                           Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy’s efforts under this initiative also include
                           communications, education, and outreach.
Clean Energy               This initiative focuses on developing tools and techniques to address challenges that        Unable to provide
Transmission and           renewable energy sources—particularly wind and solar power—pose to electricity
Reliability                grid operators, who need to incorporate these variable generation sources without
                           compromising reliability. The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy’s efforts under
                           this initiative also include communications, education, and outreach.
Smart Grid Research        This initiative focuses on developing smart grid technologies, particularly those that       Unable to provide
and Development            help match supply and demand in real time. Such technologies enable the integration
                           of renewable resources by reducing power disturbances, helping stabilize the variability
                           of renewable energy sources, and facilitating their safe and cost-effective operation by
                           utilities and consumers. The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy’s efforts under
                           this initiative also include communications, education, and outreach.
Office of Science
Office of Basic Energy     The Office of Basic Energy Sciences supports fundamental research to understand,                     71,913,000
Sciences - Chemical        predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and
Sciences, Geosciences, molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and
and Biosciences Core       to support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. The
Research                   Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division supports experimental,
                           theoretical, and computational research to provide fundamental understanding of
                           chemical transformations and energy flow in systems relevant to DOE missions. This
                           knowledge serves as a basis for the development of new processes for the
                           generation, storage, and use of energy and for mitigation of the environmental
                           impacts of energy use.
Office of Basic Energy     The Office of Basic Energy Sciences supports fundamental research to understand,                     22,645,000
Sciences - Materials       predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and
Sciences and               molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and
Engineering Division       to support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. The
                           Materials Sciences and Engineering Division supports fundamental experimental and
                           theoretical research to provide the knowledge base for the discovery and design of
                           new materials with novel structures, functions, and properties. This knowledge
                           serves as a basis for the development of new materials for the generation, storage,
                           and use of energy and for mitigation of the environmental impacts of energy use.
Energy Frontier            Under this initiative, the Office of Science funds centers that conduct basic and                    38,200,000
Research Centers           advanced discovery research to accelerate advanced energy technologies, including
                           renewable energy technologies. The centers are overseen by program staff in the
                           Materials Sciences and Engineering subprogram and the Chemical Sciences,
                           Geosciences, and Biosciences subprogram.




                                             Page 38                                                             GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                           Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                           Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                           Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




                                                                                                                               FY 2010 and
                                                                                                                        FY 2011 total (actual
Initiative name and                                                                                                          and estimated)
implementing office      Description                                                                                             obligations
Energy Innovation Hubs   This initiative is part of a broad-based research strategy to help the United States                     42,000,000
                         meet energy and climate challenges. Under this initiative, DOE has launched three
                         Energy Innovation Hubs modeled after its Bioenergy Research Centers. The hubs
                         will help advance highly promising areas of energy science and engineering from the
                         early stage of research to the point where the technology can be handed off to the
                         private sector. The Fuels from Sunlight Hub in particular focuses on renewable
                         energy, seeking to develop an effective solar energy to chemical fuel conversion
                         system.
Total                                                                                                                          $2,342,765,827
                                           Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.
                                           a
                                            The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s authorizing legislation, the America Creating
                                           Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science
                                           Reauthorization Act of 2007, (Pub. L. No. 110-69 (2007)) was reauthorized on January 4, 2011; and
                                           funding for the program was authorized through fiscal year 2013.
                                           bThe Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 provide
                                           authorization for these activities through fiscal year 2015 or 2020 depending upon the activity.
                                           c
                                            The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 added section 1705 to the Energy Policy Act
                                           of 2005. This initiative had a sunset date of September 30, 2011.



Table 6: Environmental Protection Agency Solar-Related Initiatives

                                                                                                                               FY 2010 and
                                                                                                                        FY 2011 total (actual
Initiative name and                                                                                                          and estimated)
implementing office      Description                                                                                             obligations
Office of Research and Development
P3: People, Prosperity   This initiative is a competitive grants program in which teams of college or university                      $200,000
& the Planet Student     students propose the R&D of sustainable designs related to water, energy,
Design Competition for   agriculture, the built environment or materials and chemicals. Selected teams are
Sustainability           awarded $15,000 grants to develop and demonstrate their ideas at the annual
                         National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C., where they compete for a
                         $90,000 grant to take their design to the next level or to deployment. Proposals
                         related to the collection of solar energy and the use of solar energy for drinking water
                         purification have been among those funded.
Total                                                                                                                                 $200,000
                                           Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.




                                           Page 39                                                                  GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                            Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                            Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                            Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




Table 7: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar-Related Initiatives

                                                                                                                              FY 2010 and
                                                                                                                       FY 2011 total (actual
Initiative name and                                                                                                         and estimated)
implementing office        Description                                                                                          obligations
Office of the Chief Technologist
High Efficiency Space      As part of the Exploration Technology Development Program’s Enabling                                   $308,000
Power Systems              Technology Development and Demonstration projects, NASA will develop
                           technologies to provide low-cost, abundant power for deep-space missions,
                           including solar photovoltaic systems. The initiative will also demonstrate dual-use
                           technologies for clean and renewable energy for terrestrial applications.
Space Technology           This is the coupling of activities within two Office of the Chief Technologist                          265,275
Research Grants            programs, the Space Technology Research Grants Program and the NASA
Program                    Innovative Advance Concepts. The Space Technology Research Grants Program’s
                           objective is to accelerate the development of push technologies through innovative
                           efforts with high-risk/high payoff through the execution. The NASA Innovative
                           Advance Concepts program’s objective is to provide an initial study of visionary
                           technology concepts that are aerospace architecture, system or mission, exciting
                           by exploring a potential breakthrough, far-term implementing design more than 10
                           years out and have scientific and engineering credibility.
Solar Sail Demonstration   The Solar Sail Demonstration will advance the state of the art of the use of solar                       55,993
                           radiation pressure for in-space propulsion (solar sailing). The demonstration of this
                           technology will enable many high-energy space missions that are not feasible using
                           conventional propulsion technologies.
Office of the NASA Associate Administrator
Small Business             In these programs, NASA seeks small, high-technology companies to participate in                     31,889,077
Innovations                government-sponsored research and development efforts in technology areas critical
Research/Small             to NASA’s missions. One of the areas of focus is energy conversion, including the
Business Technology        development of advanced solar photovoltaic technologies to improve efficiency and
Transfer Research          reliability of solar power for space exploration missions. Another area of focus is
                           energy generation and the development of renewable sources of energy, including
                           space-based solar power generation and other renewable energy technologies that
                           enable operation over wide temperature ranges and harsh environmental conditions.
Science Mission Directorate
High Temperature           This initiative provides support to the Organometallic Vapor Phase Epitaxy Facility                     450,000
Photovoltaics              to develop solar cells for operation at elevated temperatures.
Solar Probe Plus           This initiative provides performance testing of triple junction solar cells in elevated                 350,000a
Technology Development     temperature and radiation environments like that seen near the sun.
Space Technology Program
Centennial Challenges      The Centennial Challenges Program seeks innovative solutions to technical                              1,500,000
                           problems that can drive progress in aerospace technology of value to NASA’s
                           missions in space operations, science, exploration, and aeronautics. The initiative
                           encourages the participation of independent teams, individual inventors, student
                           groups, and private companies in aerospace research and development.
                           Competition topics include solar and other renewable energy technologies.
Total                                                                                                                          $34,818,345
                                            Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.
                                            a
                                             All or part of the agency-provided obligations are estimated.




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                                              Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                              Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                              Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




Table 8: National Science Foundation Solar-Related Initiatives

                                                                                                                              FY2010 and
                                                                                                                       FY2011 total (actual
Initiative name and                                                                                                        and estimated)
implementing office         Description                                                                                        obligations
Directorate for Engineering
Catalysis and               The program funds a variety of academic research grants, including those in a                      $1,269,911a
Biocatalysis                research area known as “Catalysts and Studies for Alternative Energy Systems, such
                            as Electro- and Photocatalysis.” To meet national needs, the program prioritizes
                            proposals for conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals, development of
                            alternative energy sources, and transition to green products and processes.
Emerging Frontiers in   The initiative funds grants for interdisciplinary engineering research with the                          8,006,000
Research and Innovation potential to create a significant impact or meet national needs. Under the program in
                        fiscal year 2010, NSF coordinated with DOE to call for proposals that help address
                        the need for solar and wind energy storage.
Energy, Power, and          The program provides grants for academic researchers to design and study                             4,985,617
Adaptive Systems            intelligent and adaptive engineering networks with an emphasis on electric power
                            electronics, networks and grids. This focus includes generation, distribution,
                            transmission and integration of renewable energy systems and alternative energy
                            technologies, including solar cells, ocean waves, wind, and hydropower. The
                            program also supports laboratory and curriculum development to integrate research
                            and education.
Energy for Sustainability   The program funds fundamental academic research and education activities through                     7,160,607
Program                     grants to enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of electricity
                            and transportation fuels. The program emphasizes two primary fuel sources—
                            biofuels/bioenergy and photovoltaic solar energy—and also supports research in
                            wind and wave energy, sustainable energy technology assessment, and fuel cells.
Engineering Research        Since 1985, the NSF Engineering Research Center program has funded                                   1,502,036
Centers                     interdisciplinary academic-led centers that create and sustain an integrated research
                            environment to advance fundamental engineering knowledge and engineered
                            systems. In fiscal year 2010, the program issued a solicitation that included a call for
                            energy-related proposals. As a result of that call, two new renewable energy-related
                            engineering research centers—one in solar photovoltaic systems and one in
                            electrical energy transmission–will be started with co-funding from DOE. In addition
                            in fiscal year 2010, of the 15 engineering research centers active at that time, there
                            were two in the renewable energy area—one that conducted biofuel research and
                            one that conducted “smart grid” electrical energy distribution research.
Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
CHE-DMR-DMS Solar           The initiative provides grants to support interdisciplinary efforts by research                     22,165,125
Energy Initiative           groups—each of which includes a chemist, a materials researcher, and a
(SOLAR)                     mathematician or statistician—to address the scientific challenges of highly efficient
                            harvesting, conversion, and storage of solar energy.
Chemical Catalysis          The program provides grants for experimental and theoretical academic research on                    3,672,260
                            chemical agents known as catalysts and pre-catalysts. Specifically, the program
                            supports research on topics such as solar energy conversion, biomass conversion,
                            and other energy-related processes.
Total                                                                                                                          $48,761,556
                                              Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.
                                              a
                                              All or part of the agency-provided obligations are estimated.



                                              Page 41                                                             GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
                                          Appendix II: Solar-Related Initiatives at Six
                                          Federal Agencies, Descriptions and Fiscal
                                          Years 2010 and 2011 Obligations




Table 9: U.S. Department of Agriculture Solar-Related Initiatives

                                                                                                                          FY2010 and
                                                                                                                   FY2011 total (actual
                                                                                                                       and estimated)
Initiative name and implementing office         Description                                                                obligations
Agricultural Research Service
Bioenergy National Program                      The mission of this Agricultural Research Service research                    $270,000
                                                program is to develop technologies for the sustainable
                                                commercial production of biofuels by the agricultural sector in
                                                ways that enhance natural resources without disrupting
                                                existing food, feed, and fiber markets. Agricultural Research
                                                Service efforts under this initiative include research on new
                                                varieties and hybrids of bioenergy feedstocks, practices and
                                                systems that maximize the yield of bioenergy feedstocks, and
                                                commercially preferred biorefining technologies.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Sustainable Agriculture Research and            This regionally administered competitive grant program                         107,247
Education Program                               supports research and education projects related to
                                                sustainable agriculture. It also includes a professional
                                                development program to provide education and training on
                                                sustainable agriculture to agricultural professionals. It does
                                                not specifically call for renewable energy proposals but has
                                                funded projects that include renewable energy elements, such
                                                as alternative biomass production, on-farm biomass
                                                conversion methods, and small-scale methane digesters.
Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program         This program is a competitive grant program supporting                         200,000
                                                fundamental and/or applied agricultural research projects that
                                                address high-priority food and agricultural science concerns of
                                                tribal, national, or multistate significance. Its mission is to
                                                encourage the engagement and participation of Native
                                                American students in food and agricultural sciences research
                                                through experiential learning. Program priorities are based on
                                                National Institute of Food Agriculture’s national critical needs
                                                areas, which include development of sustainable energy,
                                                among others.
Total                                                                                                                         $577,247
                                          Source: GAO analysis of agency-provided data.




                                          Page 42                                                             GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Appendix III: GAO’s Questionnaire for
               Appendix III: GAO’s Questionnaire for Federal
               Agencies with Initiatives Supporting Solar
               Energy Technologies


Federal Agencies with Initiatives Supporting
Solar Energy Technologies




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Appendix III: GAO’s Questionnaire for Federal
Agencies with Initiatives Supporting Solar
Energy Technologies




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Agencies with Initiatives Supporting Solar
Energy Technologies




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Appendix III: GAO’s Questionnaire for Federal
Agencies with Initiatives Supporting Solar
Energy Technologies




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Appendix III: GAO’s Questionnaire for Federal
Agencies with Initiatives Supporting Solar
Energy Technologies




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Agencies with Initiatives Supporting Solar
Energy Technologies




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Agencies with Initiatives Supporting Solar
Energy Technologies




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Agencies with Initiatives Supporting Solar
Energy Technologies




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Energy Technologies




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Page 52                                         GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  Frank Rusco, (202) 512-3841 or ruscof@gao.gov
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the individual named above, key contributors to this report
Staff             included Karla Springer (Assistant Director), Tanya Doriss, Cindy Gilbert,
Acknowledgments   Jessica Lemke, Cynthia Norris, Jerome Sandau, Holly Sasso, Maria
                  Stattel, and Barbara Timmerman.




(361329)
                  Page 53                                               GAO-12-843 Solar Energy
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