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Capability Development

The capability development process will grow DuraMAT's expertise, tools, and access to facilities while improving research capabilities that will help to increase PV module reliability and performance.

DuraMAT Capability Development Process — Annual Submission Review

Capability Development Lab Call Purpose

The purpose of the DuraMAT Capability Development program is to fund infrastructure, research capabilities, and longer-term capability demonstrations for research in photovoltaic (PV) module packaging and components that will increase module reliability and performance, while decreasing technology risk and the levelized cost of electricity for photovoltaic systems. Capability development projects are intended to be 1-3-year projects aimed at creating, developing, or expanding the expertise, tools, and facilities that comprise a research capability. Capability demonstrations are illustrative projects that display a capability's use and value while also enhancing or expanding the capability. Proposals using existing capabilities to develop or de-risk technologies are also of interest.

Proposed work must fit in one of the following capability development priority areas below:

  1. Acceleration science that increases field relevance and accuracy of predictions at varying length, time, and stress scales
  2. Applied data analytics that demonstrate the DuraMAT DataHub (e.g. correlating accelerated testing and field data, multivariate image analysis, development of data tools to inform design, test, and manufacturing procedures, and support risk-based technology evaluation tools)
  3. Predictive simulation and experimental characterization of interfacial behavior
  4. Physics of failure in "new" materials without well-documented field failures (e.g. changes in electrical conductivity and mechanical adhesion in electrically conductive adhesives under stress)
  5. Photo-electro-chemical degradation and its effects on interfaces, surface/heterogeneous reactions, and mechanical stress in PV packaging
  6. Outdoor testing for materials studies, experimental modules, and reference modules.

Projects that connect multiple areas are highly encouraged.


Staff at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories are encouraged to submit proposals for funding. Proposals must have a principal investigator (PI) from a DuraMAT core lab (NREL, Sandia, SLAC, or LBNL). PIs with successful spark proposals from other national labs will be eligible to apply after the completion of their spark proposals. Proposals may include team members from industry, national labs, academia, etc., but funding must stay within the national laboratories.

Proposal Format

Proposals must be submitted using the provided Word template. Proposals are strictly limited to five pages. References, resumes, and current/pending support info should be appended to the proposal file and are excluded from the page limit. No information outside of the page limit will be considered. No other methods of submissions will be accepted and no additional submissions will be considered.

Proposal Evaluation

Submitted proposals will be screened for adherence to the above guidelines and relevance to the capability development priorities. Proposals that meet these criteria will be reviewed by technical experts on the DuraMAT Industry Advisory Board using the following criteria. Any members involved in a proposal will recuse themselves. Each proposal will be considered based on the following metrics:

Technical Merit (70%)

  • Does the project effectively address one or more capability development priority topic areas?
  • What is the potential impact of this proposed capability on the levelized cost of electricity of PV systems?
  • What is the potential impact of this work on module performance, system reliability, or the technical or economic risk of PV systems?
  • How might the proposed work add to the DuraMAT capability network and integrate with the existing network?
  • How will the proposed work contribute new types of data to the DuraMAT Data Hub or allow for new types of analytics to be performed on pre-existing data?
  • What is the likelihood that this capability would be effectively leveraged by DuraMAT collaborators in the solar industry?
  • What is the plan for stakeholder engagement to use this capability or build on the results from this work?
  • If the proposed work is unsuccessful, what can DuraMAT or the PV community learn?

Organization and Execution (30%)

  • Is the workplan clearly articulated and effective in achieving the goals of the project?
  • Are the milestones and deliverables clearly articulated and appropriate?
  • What is the likelihood of the proposed work to succeed based on the budget and work period proposed?
  • Does the team have the skills and resources necessary to build this capability?
  • How is this proposed capability differentiated from research in other reliability efforts funded by the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) (e.g. SETO lab call, PVQAT, PVRD, PREDICTS, etc.)?

Proposal Selection

The DuraMAT Industry Advisory Board will review proposals according to the merit criteria above. The DuraMAT Leadership Team will make programmatic recommendations based on those rankings to SETO, and the DOE SETO Program Manager will have final selection authority. DuraMAT anticipates making selections in May 2018 for work starting in fiscal year 2018.

Total award funding for this call is $2,500,000–$3,000,000.

Estimated project funding: $100,000–$500,000 per year for up to three years.

Download the Proposal Template

Send completed proposals to by March 16, 2018.