Frequently Asked Questions

Select a FOA to view questions and answers for the specific funding opportunity. Alternatively select "Non-FOA related items" to view system FAQ items.

Question 1: Will the FOA consider multijunction concepts as well?
Answer 1:

The DOE SunShot Initiative is soliciting collaborative research teams to define and fabricate model single junction structures that can approach SQ limits with this FOA. Multijunction concepts are not being solicited with this funding announcement.

Question 2: I presently have an F-PACE program on polycrystalline CdTe solar cells involving study of defects by various techniques correlating to cell performance and growth procedures. In the F-PACE II announcement it states "continuation of an existing program" will not be considered. I would like to know if using similar techniques on model single crystal CdTe and using model grain boundaries grown on bicrystal substrates would be viewed as continuation or as a new program.
Answer 2:

Please see the FOA for the specific objectives of this funding announcement and for information concerning how your proposed project will be evaluated.  Proposals will be reviewed based on the application materials submitted.  Through this FOA, the DOE SunShot Initiative seeks to support collaborative research towards ultra-high efficiency model single junction systems with the end goal being the experimental achievement of efficiencies near the SQ limit for manufacturable PV technologies. 

Using similar techniques that are funded under existing programs is not considered a continuation of an existing program.  Please note that Applicants must provide a list of current and pending support (both Federal and non-Federal) as part of the Project Narrative as described in Section IV.C of the FOA.

Question 3: Can Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) apply to this FOA?
Answer 3:

As described in Section III.A, non-DOE/NNSA FFRDCs and non-DOE Government-Operated Government-Owned laboratories GOGOs are eligible to apply for funding as a subrecipient, but are not eligible to apply as a prime recipient. DOE/NNSA FFRDCs and DOE GOGOs are eligible to apply for funding as a prime recipient or subrecipient.

Please see Section III.C for information regarding authorization requirements.



Question 4: I would like to speak more with the program manager about our concept, and perhaps arrange a briefing. Would you please place me in contact with the appropriate point of contact?
Answer 4:

DOE will not be setting up any briefings or private conversations with the program or FOA manager in response to this competitive FOA.  All questions regarding this FOA should be submitted to the FOA mailbox, , and DOE’s responses will be posted publicly.



Question 5: A team member is required who has worked on, or demonstrated a cell within 3% absolute of the technology in question. In the case of Si PV, does the world record mean singly a 25% PERL cell, or there is a separation between "thick" wafer Si and ultra-thin kerfless Si?
Answer 5:

The reviewers will use the submitted application materials to determine if the applicant team contains at least one member that was part of a team that fabricated a cell within 3% of the world record for the technology addressed in the application.  In the case of thin-film silicon, the record at the time the FOA was released was 20.1% as shown in Figure 3 on page 8.



Question 6: The posted SOPO instructions include an example SOPO that uses two 18-month budget periods while the FOA states that applicants should construct their SOPO in three 12-month budget periods. Please clarify the length of the budget period that applicants must use when constructing their application for the FPACE II – Model Systems FOA.
Answer 6:

Applicants should use three 12-month budget periods when constructing their application and propose go/no-go points at the end of the first and second budget periods as stated in the FOA.



Question 7: It appears that the PV materials DOE is looking for are limited to III-V, chalcogenide, or c-Si. However, we would like to make sure about this since we are thinking of creating team for advanced organic solar cells. Would you please clarify if this is appropriate?
Answer 7:

As stated in Section I.D, PV technologies that have demonstrated device efficiencies of at least 11% are an area of programmatic interest for this FOA.  As shown in Figure 3, OPV technologies have exceeded this threshold.  The objective of the FOA is to create model PV systems that approach SQ limits and all applicants are encouraged to consider the merit review criteria when constructing their application.


Question 8: Will the information that is presented in the webinar be available for download?
Answer 8:

Yes, after the webinar, the slides and script will be available for download.  A link will be provided in the FPACE II: Model Systems FOA listing in EERE Exchange.   


Question 9: Is the webinar for the SunShot Initiative FPACE II on for today still on?
Answer 9:

Yes, the webinar is still on for today at 3:00 PM EST.


Question 10: Just wondering if we can get a copy of the ppt file? I was 15 late for the webinar and missed a lot of it.
Answer 10:

The PowerPoint file can be found on the FOA website located at by clicking on “FPACE II Webinar Slides and Script” under “FOA Documents”.


Question 11: What sort of waiver or paperwork is required if a US entity acting as the primary recipient wishes to work with a foreign university as a sub-tier partner? What are the rules and restrictions for foreign partners?
Answer 11:

If a US entity acting as the prime applicant wishes to work with a foreign university as a subrecipient,  the prime applicant may seek a waiver of the “Performance of Work in the United States” requirement, the applicant must explain why it is necessary to have the work performed outside of the United States.  All waiver requests should explain how the waiver would further the purposes of this FOA and otherwise serve the interests of EERE. The Contracting Officer may require additional information before considering the waiver request.

The rules and restrictions for foreign partners can be found in the applicable cost principles and the 10CFR600 Financial Assistance Regulations.




Question 12: While multi-junction cells are not part of this FOA, we would like to look at one specific junction within a multi-junction stack. The multi-junction cell that we have is within 3% absolute of the world record, but we do not have data for the individual junction. Would we still meet the requirements of the FOA if we responded with a proposal for studying that particular junction?
Answer 12:

Studying one junction is applicable for the FOA. The application will be reviewed according to the Merit Review Criteria stated in the FOA on the specific junction of interest and not on the efficiency of a multi-junction cell. The 3% requirement pertains to a team member having a demonstrated capacity in processing a device within 3% (absolute) of the world record device efficiency. The Applicant must provide a 1 page appendix to the Project Narrative that describes which team member has such demonstrated capacity and how the identified member meets the criterion. Reviewers will consider this review criterion and all others as applied to the junction of interest.



Question 13: Is there any interest in research on coating materials applied to single p-n junction device structures with the potential to go beyond the Shockley-Queisser power conversion efficiency limits? Physical mechanisms of the coating include anti-reflection, down-conversion, up-conversion, etc.
Answer 13:

Coating materials that enhance efficiency are not excluded from this funding announcement and may be part of a model system.  However, this solicitation is for single junction devices that can achieve SQ limits for a single bandgap, and therefore, up-conversion or down-conversion strategies that utilize moieties with bandgaps that differ from the absorber layer are not being solicited.


Question 14: Could we send in our LOI and the application as we have an Organic PV technology that we are keen to develop and commercialize through our US corporation? It would work with and compliment the present PV cells and increase cell efficiency.
Answer 14:

This FOA is soliciting applications that propose to demonstrate SQ efficiency limits of single junction devices through a fundamental approach of materials design; defect engineering; device simulations; and materials growth and characterization. Please consult the FOA for more information on the FOA objectives and for information on how applications will be evaluated. 


Question 15: How do I submit my LOI?
Answer 15:

Applicants must upload their mandatory Letters of Intent (LOI) into EERE Exchange before 5PM ET on 3/7/13.  Applicants can create accounts in EERE Exchange as described in the FOA.  After the account has been created and the Abstract has been entered, Applicants must upload their Letter of Intent into the corresponding field in “Upload and Submit” tab for their Full Application.  Applicants do not need to click the submit button, but all LOIs must be fully uploaded by 5:00pm ET on 3/7/13. 

Please disregard the statement under the general tab that states “Your Letter of Intent has been completed” and ensure that you have uploaded your LOI into the corresponding field.


Question 16: May cost share be greater than 20 percent of total projects in year one, and less than 20 percent in years two and three, as long as the total cost share over the three-year project period is at least 20 percent of total project costs?
Answer 16:

Typically, cost share requirements are required to be met for each Budget Period.  In very rare extenuating circumstances and with the approval of the Contracting Officer DOE will allow Recipients to front load or back load their cost share.



Question 17: Can the applicant consider things such as obscuration due to contacts, parasitic absorption in window layers, parasitic absorption in ARC layers, and parasitic reflection from the cell as part of our formulation to achieve theoretical cell efficiencies?
Answer 17:

Yes, such issues are within the scope of this FOA as they pertain to approaching SQ limits for PV cell power conversion efficiency.  Module level research on topics such as encapsulants, soiling, and casing, however, is not within the scope of this FOA.



Question 18: I hold a few patents and a patent pending regarding concentrating light in depth for solar energy use. During proof of concept modeling we discovered that light trapping can cause light to be used to magnify the amount of electrical energy output from certain PV systems by movement of light within a trapped chamber. I understand that your Intent to File Deadline was 3/7/13. Does that mean that our invention can't be considered as part of an overall Submission due on 4/8/13? If not, I would certainly like to have our models considered and used in an overall effort. Is that possible? And if so how can we proceed in further solar energy development within the near future?
Answer 18:

As per the FOA document, submission of a Letter of Intent to Apply was a mandatory step on the process of applying to this FOA.  Please continue to monitor EERE Exchange for future  EERE SunShot Initiative funding opportunity announcements.



Question 19: One of our subcontractors is a foreign entity and they don’t have a federally negotiated indirect cost rate, but they do have indirect cost rates used for EU funded research projects. May they use their EU negotiated indirect rates?
Answer 19:

It is the responsibility of the prime recipient to manage subrecipients’ and subcontractors fringe and indirect costs and ensure that all costs are allowable and accurately calculated as DOE does not have privity of contract with subrecipients.  However, DOE may ask for supporting documentation for subcontractor/subrecipient indirect costs at the Contracting Officers discretion.



Question 20: Is the bibliography included in the 20 page limit for the project narrative file?
Answer 20:

Yes, the 20 page limit includes references.  As described in Section IV.C.4 of the FOA, applicants should be especially careful to follow scholarly practices in providing citations for source materials relied upon when preparing any section of the application.


Question 21: Provided that all margins remain at 1 inch, can a two-column format be used within the body of the document?
Answer 21:

Yes, a two-column format can be used.  Applications must conform to the formatting requirements in Section IV. C of the FOA.


Question 22: Is there a program manager who can be called or e-mailed with specific questions that I don't want published on the FAQ website?
Answer 22:

All questions must be submitted via the method described in the FOA. Direct, private Q&As with the FOA manager are prohibited as they might provide certain applicants with an unfair advantage.  All Q&As will be made anonymous prior to posting on the FAQ website.



Question 23: Merit review criteria are given for this FOA, however, the full application instructions do not state where Merit Review Criteria should be addressed. Where should merit review criteria for this FOA be addressed?
Answer 23: The individual Merit Review Criteria (MRC) should be addressed in the appropriate sections of the full application as described in the FOA.  They do not need to be called out separately in a single document.  The sections of the full application that should address the MRC include, but are not limited to, the project narrative, resume file, SOPO,  and PMP.
Question 24: In field 13 of form SF-424, a Competition Identification Number is asked for. What should be inserted in this field?
Answer 24: This field is not applicable as this is a Funding Opportunity Announcement and not a Competition.  This field may be left blank as per the instructions on the form.
Question 25: 1. For the FFRDCs do I need to submit the SF424-A budget and PMC 123.1 files as well as their field work proposals? 2. For the GOGO, do I need only the SF424 A budget and PMC 123.1 files? 3. I understand that in a previous version of the FPACE program, DOE funded the collaborating private collaborator directly. Is that a decision that occurs after an award is made to the prime recipient?
Answer 25:

1. Yes, please submit the standard budget documents as well as FWPs.

2. Yes, please submit the information for the GOGO as if it were a non-governmental subrecipient.

3. DOE will determine the mechanism for funding subrecipients on a case by case basis.

Question 26: I am looking for the PMP example/template file mentioned in the FOA. Where can I download it?
Answer 26: In order to download the Project Management Plan (PMP) example, please locate the FOA in EERE-Exchange at and click on “View Required Application Documents” then click on “FPACE II Project Management Plan Example”.

Question 27: Who is the DOE Program manager that needs to be called out on the Field Work Proposal (FWP)?
Answer 27: Minh Le, Program Manager Solar Energy Technologie Program
Question 28: Can you please provide more detail regarding how funding for FFRDCs will be accomplished for this FOA?
Answer 28:

Funding the FFRDCs will be accomplished according the one of the two situations below:

 Prime award to a non-FFRDC awardee with FFRDC sub-contracts:  The value of, and funding for, the FFRDC sub-contractor portion of the work will be included in the award to a successful non-FFRDC awardee.  The awardee will be required to administer the sub-contract with the FFRDC and should budget accordingly.

 Prime award to an FFRDC awardee with FFRDC sub-contracts:  The value of, and funding for, the FFRDC sub-contractor portion of the work will not be included in the award to a successful FFRDC Prime awardee.  The DOE will fund both the Prime awardee and any FFRDC sub-contractors by means of a DOE FFRDC contractor through the DOE field work proposal system and other FFRDC contractors through an interagency agreement with the sponsoring agency."

Question 29: Are addition bibliographic citations/references allowed to be included on the third page of my Reply to Reviewer Comments?
Answer 29: No, citations should be included within the two (2) page text limit.
Question 30: When will I be informed on the status of my FPACE II application?
Answer 30: Award notifications will likely be sent out by July 2013.  As mentioned in an email that was sent to the team members listed on Full Applications, requests for pre-selection clarification meetings were sent out before May 29, 2013.