The Department of Energy today announced 43 small businesses that will participate in the second round of the Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot, two of which focus on solar energy. The two solar projects, which together will receive $204,000 in support from national laboratories, are working to improve solar energy storage solutions and reduce the costs and time associated with analyzing and testing solar arrays.

Hyperlight Energy of La Jolla, California will receive $75,000 in support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for thermal modeling, assessment, and evaluation to help the company develop thermal battery storage options for use in solar thermal and geothermal hybrid power plants. The company lacks the system analysis capabilities to evaluate the value of thermal storage in a geothermal/solar hybrid application. The lab voucher will allow for multiple thermal storage options to be tested.

Nishati, Inc. of McLean, Virginia will receive $129,000 in support from Sandia National Laboratories for environmental test support to further develop photovoltaic (PV) modules with a glass-free polymer surface for commercial use. Testing will evaluate the panels’ anti-reflective properties and their impact on module performance and glare. Proper evaluation of the material’s anti-reflective properties could improve performance by increasing module efficiency and reducing glare, the latter of which has been a limitation to PV deployment near specific locations, such as airports.

Launched in September 2015, the SBV pilot connects clean energy small businesses with national laboratories, America’s science and technology powerhouses. Competitively selected small businesses receive vouchers valued at $50K to $300K for national lab technical assistance. This world-class laboratory assistance will focus on specific technical challenges identified by small businesses and deliver solutions intended to drive the clean energy economy toward greater commercial success.