UCF receives Energy Department grant to advance solar energy research

The funding will support projects in solar energy research and power grid security, which aim to advance usage of sustainable energy.
solar panels and wind turbines
(Getty Images)

The University of Central Florida is advancing its research into solar energy with new funding awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the school announced last week.

The $7 million grant from DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office will support projects in solar energy research and power grid security, which aim to advance usage of sustainable energy, and help support the university’s effort to prioritize energy research.

“We are committed to advancing the rapid transition to a sustainable energy economy and collaborating with key partners,” James Fenton, director of the Florida Solar Energy Center at UCF said in a press release.

The funding will be distributed across four UCF projects, the university said. Three focus on advancing solar energy technologies, including the development fo double-sided solar panels that can generate more power. UCF is also researching solar panels that generate electricity from light and thermal energy and panels with extended life spans. The fourth project aims to help defend the nation’s power grid from cyberattacks by developing new models and algorithms that will make physical power grid more secure and resilient.


UCF has received 14 other awards from the DOE since 2011 to pursue solar research and development, according to the university, and has become a leader in solar research.

“These awards amplify UCF’s national leadership in solar energy research,” Fenton said.

UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center also received a contract from DOE which began at the beginning of 2020 to lead a team that will monitor the performance of floating solar systems around the nation and compare them to their land-based counterparts over the next two years, according to the university.

Betsy Foresman

Written by Betsy Foresman

Betsy Foresman was an education reporter for EdScoop from 2018 through early 2021, where she wrote about the virtues and challenges of innovative technology solutions used in higher education and K-12 spaces. Foresman also covered local government IT for StateScoop, on occasion. Foresman graduated from Texas Christian University in 2018 — go Frogs! — with a BA in journalism and psychology. During her senior year, she worked as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and moved back to the capital after completing her degree because, like Shrek, she feels most at home in the swamp. Foresman previously worked at Scoop News Group as an editorial fellow.

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