SEMI U.S. Public Policy: Summary of Federal and State Opportunities

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SEMI U.S. Public Policy: Summary of Federal and State Opportunities

Staying on Top of the Opportunities

Key Government Opportunities

    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Technology administers the SBIR Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. Through these two competitive programs, SBA ensures that the nation's small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government's research and development efforts. Eleven federal departments participate in the SBIR program; five departments participate in the STTR program.

    TIP supports, promotes, and accelerates innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need. TIP has the agility and flexibility to make targeted investments in transformational R&D that will ensure our Nation’s future through sustained technological leadership. This program provides matching funds for government-industry partnerships and is available to small to medium sized companies only.

    DARPA is the central research and development office for the U.S. Department of Defense. All of DARPA’s research is performed by outside researchers at large and small businesses, universities, non-profit institutions, government laboratories and other outside research organizations. DARPA funds these researchers based on a competitive review of proposals that are submitted in response to a solicitation calling for research ideas.

    ARPA-E is a new program at the U.S. Department of Energy, which is similar to the successful DARPA program. ARPA-E supports transformational energy technology research projects with the goal of enhancing the nation's economic and energy security. It was established through the America Competes Act during the last Congress but was never funded. The stimulus bill included $400 million to fund ARPA-E.

    This program focuses on accelerating the advancement of demonstrated PV module-related technologies to the prototype stage of technology development. The technologies are expected to be innovative, potentially disruptive, and capable of commercialization by 2015. Responses are limited to U.S. small businesses or teams led by a U.S. small business.

  • Photovoltaic Supply Chain and Cross-Cutting Technologies:

    This program identifies and accelerates the development of unique PV products or processes that will impact the solar industry. The DOE will invest up to $22 million in new projects. Some projects have already been funded and DOE will seek future applications. Applicants can include non-solar companies with technology that might be relevant to the PV industry. Funding is available for both Proof of Concept Technical/Feasibility Assessments and Research, Development and Demonstration projects.

    This effort is designed to help facilitate large-scale installations that involve cutting-edge solar technologies, novel applications of solar, high visibility sites, and/or high likelihood of replicability. Solar America Showcase is a Notice of Opportunity for Technical Assistance (NOTA) for proposed installations more than 250 kW and does not include direct federal funding for any recipient. Instead, showcase projects include technical assistance through teams of DOE-funded solar experts from national laboratories.

    Many states offer renewable energy incentives. The link above is a comprehensive database as a source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

For more information, contact Maggie Hershey in the SEMI Washington Office at

November 23, 2009