(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced with Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) the award of $1.9 million in federal grant money to advance new solar technologies. The grants were awarded through the Department of Energy‘s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, which aims to support research projects that will lower solar energy costs, strengthen the manufacturing of solar technology and harden the cybersecurity of solar systems.
Of the $1.9 million that was awarded, $1.2 million will be allocated to the University of New Hampshire in support of a project aiming to increase access to solar technologies in low-income communities through the expansion of solar finance training for personnel of community finance institutions. The DOE will award $700,000 to Hampton’s Brayton Energy, which will support research efforts by the company to optimize heat exchangers to withstand mechanical stress. These heat exchangers are critical for the cooling of concentrating solar-thermal power plants, which operate under very high temperatures.
“Clean energy sources, including solar energy, are key to achieving our goals of energy independence, reducing carbon emissions to address climate change and promoting economic growth,” said Senator Shaheen. “These federal grant awards will bolster the exciting and important work to develop solar energy and promote its use in communities throughout New Hampshire. In the Senate, I’ll continue to fight for funding that supports a clean energy future.”
“These Department of Energy grants will help make possible two New Hampshire projects that can make a tangible difference in promoting solar power and furthering our efforts to move toward a renewable energy economy,” said Senator Hassan. “Congratulations to Brayton Energy and the University of New Hampshire. I look forward to seeing what you accomplish, and I will continue to advocate in Congress along with my colleagues in the New Hampshire delegation for critical grants like these.”
“Investing in renewable energy is one of the most effective ways to create jobs, combat climate change, and build a more sustainable future for all Granite Staters,” said Congressman Pappas. “I am glad to see the Department of Energy is working alongside local partners to not only improve our technology but also increase the use of clean energy across our state. I will continue to work with the delegation to secure federal investments that benefit Granite State families by lowering energy costs and making our state more energy independent.”
“This grant from the Department of Energy for advancing solar technologies is a great example of how UNH addresses major societal issues by fostering collaboration among experts across a broad range of disciplines. It is critically important that we support finance mechanisms, public policy, and capacity building of community institutions in concert with science and technology in order to develop equitable energy systems that can work for all of our society,” said Kevin Gardner, Vice Provost for Research, UNH.
“This is a very important win for our Brayton team. With our partner Oak Ridge National Labs, we will develop novel thin sheet heat exchangers using high temperature super-alloys. In this important initiative, Brayton will combine our significant experience in high temperature heat exchanger design and testing with ORNL’s advancements in metallurgy. These results will be applied to Brayton products, with broad applications to advanced power generation cycles," said Jim Kesseli, President of Brayton Energy.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen has helped secure increased funding for several energy efficiency and renewable energy programs at the Department of Energy as part of previous omnibus funding bills. Shaheen also reintroduced the Clean Energy Grid Act, legislation that would help identify and overcome technical and regulatory barriers to the wider use of cleaner and more efficient energy technologies, including solar technologies.