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Spark Proposals

The new Spark project format will fund research aimed specifically at innovative concepts in photovoltaic (PV) module packaging that will increase module reliability and performance.

DuraMAT Spark Proposal Process — Quarterly Submission Review

Spark Proposal Purpose

Spark proposals are intended to be short-term projects (6-9 months) that serve a defined need, bridge gaps in DuraMAT's capability areas, or address a previously unidentified opportunity for research to impact the PV industry. The budget for each Spark project is limited to $50,000.

Successful proposals will be expected to display an obvious near-term impact by opening new areas of research, proving out a new technique, or bridging gaps in the capability network at the national laboratories. Proposals must have a well-defined, short-term work plan with one or two key tasks that will accomplish the proposal's goals.

Proposed work should fit in one of the Spark priority topic areas:

1. Make DuraMAT a central PV and PV materials data resource
2. Advance DuraMAT's efforts to make a Multiscale Multi-Physics Model
3. Advance accelerated testing and validation
4. Module Forensics

Ideas must fit within the scope of DuraMAT: no research will be funded to work on the PV absorber or the TCO layer. See for more details.


National laboratory staff are encouraged to submit proposals for funding. All Spark funding must stay within DOE National Laboratories. Industry and university staff may team with the national laboratories for funded work to be done at the national laboratories. Proposals must have a national lab PI or co-PI. All proposals are encouraged to work in collaboration with industry, university, and other national laboratories.

Proposal Format

When DuraMAT is accepting new Sparks, proposals must be submitted using the online form. Each field is word limited as noted. No other methods will be accepted and no additional submissions will be considered.

Proposal Evaluation

Spark proposals are not being accepted at this time.

Proposals will be screened for adherence to the above guidelines and relevance to the Spark priorities. Proposals that meet these criteria will be reviewed by technical experts on the DuraMAT Industry Advisory Board. Any members involved in a proposal will recuse themselves. The DuraMAT Industry Advisory Board will consider each proposal based on the following metrics:

Technical Merit

  • Does the project effectively address a Spark topic area?
  • Is the workplan clearly articulated and effective in achieving the goals of the project?
  • Are the milestones and deliverables clearly articulated and appropriate?
  • Who is the main beneficiary of the work (one company, a university, publication, multiple entities, etc.?)
  • What is the likelihood that this proposal would lead to successful follow-on proposals?
  • What is the likelihood of the proposed work to succeed based on the budget and work period proposed? 

Technical Impact

  • Does the proposal address an important research question or technical problem?
  • What is the potential impact of this work on module performance, system reliability, or the levelized cost of electricity of PV generation if it is successful?
  • If the proposed work is unsuccessful, what can DuraMAT or the PV community learn?
  • How might the proposed work add to the DuraMAT capability network, leverage the network, or challenge the capability network to improve?

Proposal Selection

The DuraMAT leadership team will evaluate the review by the industry advisory board and approve the highly ranked proposals for funding.