More evidence recently of the nascent stages of the emergence of a PV research community to be reckoned with at MIT.
MIT recently won 2 large research grants from the Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies program totalling $1.8M. GREAT STUFF!! (If you're smart, you should be able to figure out who got them from the press release linked above.)
This was part of $21.7M distributed to 25 research projects in next generation PV by the DOE's Solar America Initiative. It is great to see Craig Cornelius, the new head of the DOE EERE Solar Energy Technologies program, implementing a much more dynamic funding strategy than we have seen in U.S. federal solar funding in the past! Craig had the chance to see all that MIT has to offer when he attended the MIT Energy Club's "MIT EnergyNight" last month.
Let's once again be sure to calibrate ourselves about what this means in terms of research output. For a project with a reasonable experimental/capital expenditure component, I would estimate that a PhD student costs ~$200K-$300K/year (~$100K just to have the student there - stipend/tuition/overhead + $100-$200K more for research costs).
So a rough estimate tells us that these grants will support 6-9 PhD student research-years or 3-4.5 PhD student research-years per project.
A great start to hopefully a lot more PV research funding coming into MIT!