Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Opens Small Business Funding Program

Zainab Mirza, Program Associate, Clean Energy Business Network

Updated 1.1.21 with further information on the application process.

The Department of Energy recently announced topics for its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding program for FY2021. This program encourages American small businesses to engage in innovative research and development. View the eligible technology topics, which encompass a broad range of renewable energy, fossil energy, energy efficiency, storage, and advanced fuels technologies.

CEBN was recently chosen by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NRL) to serve as a Power Connector for the Department of Energy’s American-Made Challenge. Q4 2020 activities will be focused on promoting and enhancing the accessibility of the SBIR funding solicitation, specifically with respect to solar energy topics. The CEBN is excited to connect small businesses with the opportunity to fund their early-stage ideas.

The CEBN invites interested solar entrepreneurs to complete this interest form so we can keep you informed of events and updates relating to this funding solicitation. Eligible solar energy topics include but are not limited to solar technologies that improve resilience to weather-related or cyber threats, agricultural applications, affordability, reliability, performance of solar technologies, and electrical connections for photovoltaic (PV) modules and systems. CEBN recently hosted an informational webinar with DOE staff and previous applicants about the topics and the application process. A recording of the webinar is available here.

Please email CEBN staff with any questions about the funding solicitation.

Tips for Applicants:

Getting started:

Read about the topic areas for the current funding solicitation, and decide which topic area is relevant to your technology (see solar topics). You can apply for more than one funding area, but your applications/details of your proposed technology solution MUST be different or else your application will be disqualified.

Carefully review the application requirements. Letters of intent are due Jan. 4, 2021 at 5 pm ET. Do not wait until the last minute to try to log in and find the application forms, in case you run into any technical difficulties. The letter of intent is relatively short and you do not have to have all the other required registrations completed (e.g., DUNS, SAMS).

If you need step-by-step instructions, view this guide on navigating SBIR application process. A brief synopsis is provided below to help you get started:

    • Register your organization via the Portfolio Analysis and Management System (PAMS) website and follow the link to either find or register your institution, as explained further on p. 19 of this document
    • Click on the “Proposals” or “View Funding Opportunities” link, type in DE-FOA-0002360, and filter for “contains”
    • On the right side, click on “Actions/Views” and “Submit letter of intent”

Full applications are due February 22, 2021 at 11:50 pm ET. As soon as you submit your letter of intent, you should immediately start working on the required registrations (DUNS, SAMS,, etc.) and full application materials so you can have them in place by the deadline. If your letter of intent is deemed unrelated to the desired topic areas, you will be notified within approximately 3 weeks; otherwise, you are eligible to complete the full application. See p. 22-23 of this document for further information on these requirements.

First-time SBIR applicants can apply for technical assistance through Dawnbreaker Phase 0, a federal contractor that can help you navigate the application process.

Additional resources: