Solar Energy Innovators Program

Funding Agency:
Department of Energy

The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Research Participation Program is designed to provide opportunities for students, postgraduates, established scientists and faculty to participate in programs, projects, and activities that support the mission of the EERE. Participants will hold appointments at DOE-EERE Headquarters, EERE field offices, and other EERE-approved sites. Participants will receive hands-on experience that provides them with an understanding of the mission, operations, and culture of EERE.

The purpose of the Solar Energy Innovators Program is to enable selected applicants to conduct practical research on innovative solutions to the challenges faced by electric utilities, energy service providers, and electric public utility commissions as the levels of solar energy, as well as other distributed energy resources (DERs), increase on the electrical grid.

Selected applicants, referred to as “Innovators” herein, will participate for up to two years at a Host Institution on one or more topics related to the integration of solar energy.

The applicant to this program is the prospective Innovator. The applicant must identify a Host Institution and potential mentor at a utility, energy service provider, or public utilities commission (PUC) currently conducting research in an area related to the integration of solar energy onto the electricity grid.  DOE, ORAU, and ORISE do not match Applicants with Host Institutions.  Host Institutions may seek potential Innovators that are eligible to apply to the program, but it is the potential Innovator, not the Host Institution or mentor, who submits the application and supporting materials.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications are downloaded for review on the first of the month, and applicants can expect to hear whether they move to the next stage within 30 days. Subsequent selection process stages include telephone interviews of the applicant and mentor. The process from application submittal to Innovator start date is approximately 3 months.

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Host Institutions can be:

(a) An electric public utility commission,

(b) An electric utility operating in the US, or

(c) An energy service provider operating in the US (including, but not limited to, independent system operators, balancing authorities, and retail electricity providers).

Host Institutions are expected to commit to a providing a mentor for the Innovator, as well as workspace, equipment, and resources needed for the Innovator to conduct his or her research.

  • Eligible applicants include recent Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate graduates, as well as applicants with technical or research post-degree experience in a field related to the application of solar integration.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) at the time of application. Evidence of U.S. citizenship must be submitted to ORISE at the time the appointment is accepted.

  • Be at least 18 years old by the time the appointment begins.

  • Meet one of the following conditions: 

    • Level 1: Have earned an undergraduate (Bachelor’s) degree in the past three years in science, technology, mathematics, engineering, public policy, business, law or other field relevant to the position.

    • Level 2: Have earned a graduate degree (Doctorate or Master’s) in the past three years in science, technology, mathematics, engineering, public policy, business, law or other field relevant to the position.

    • Level 3: Have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree in science, technology, mathematics, engineering, public policy, business, law or other field relevant to the position. Applicant must have post-degree experience in a technical or research position in a field related to energy innovation.

Amount Description

Stipends will be based on appointment level and commensurate with qualifications:

  • Level 1: Participants with a Bachelor's degree will receive a stipend starting at $40,000.

  • Level 2: Participants with a Ph.D. will receive a stipend starting at $70,000. Participants with a Master's degree will start at $50,000.

  • Level 3: The stipend amount will be based on the Level 2 rate plus a factor for years of relevant experience after the receipt of the degree.

Participants will be eligible to receive an allowance of up to $10,000 for education and/or scientific activities, health insurance supplement, and possible relocation travel up to $5,000.

The appointment is full-time and cannot be supplemented with additional salary from the Host Institution.

Funding Type

Award
Grant

Eligibility

Grad/Prof Students
Post Doctoral Fellows

Category

Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences