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Challenge Awards 2021 on Solar Energy by DST: Submit by Dec 31

Submissions are invited for Challenge Awards 2021 on Solar Energy by DST. The last date of application is 31 December.


Slowing the effect of global warming, one of the most pressing challenges of this century, demands a shift to sustainable technologies for electricity generation. Silicon (Si) based Photovoltaic (PV) technologies have been rapidly growing and dominating the renewable energy market.

Amongst the other potential under development thin films PV technologies: Organic Solar Cells , Perovskites, Kesterites etc. are promising leads to deliver electricity at a lower cost with the lowest carbon footprint of all. Solar cell research and development is a multi-disciplinary research and demands joint working of physicists, chemists, materials scientists, computational scientists, and engineers to demonstrate high efficiency and cost effective modules.

In India, educational and research institutions need to step up multi-institutional research work to produce global competitive devices while addressing the challenges from materials-to-processing techniques to devices. The wafer size for silicon based solar cell are trending towards large area (210 mm x 210 mm) driven by the lowering of levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), according to estimation by industry.

The wafer thickness will also continue to decrease, as this is one the main costs of cell production. There are no issues with cell fabrication at smaller thickness, but breakage at the module fabrication stage of thin wafers will be in focus. The change in device architectures also show preferences to high quality n-type wafers, knowhow in nanolithography, masking or ion implantation which are costly affairs needing sensitive tools.


  • The consortium proposals are to be led by faculties/ scientists working in regular position in recognized academic institutions, public funded R&D Institution/ Laboratories, DSIR recognized SIRO organization in partnership with other academic/ R&D organization etc.
  • Participation of industries/ start-ups and industry association is desirable.
  • The industrial partner should have proven standing and R&D capability in the proposed area.
  • Faculties of recognized universities and academic institutions, scientists working in National Laboratories, R&D institutions and Research organizations recognized and  Start-ups  could be part of consortium.   

Assessment Criteria: The proposal will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 

  • Scientific and Technical merit . 
  • Expertise, facilities and track record and ability of the Project Investigation Team to achieve the research goals. 
  • Proposal formulation (Precision in objective, adequacy and completeness of literature review, preliminary work done, highest efficiency achieved by group in previous year with declared active area (efficiency table showing targeted Jsc, Voc, FF), clearly mentioned stability (under air, heat and light) already achieved by the group and expected stability, proposed encapsulation strategies, methodology, device architecture and work plan. 
  • Resources requested for purpose in effectiveness of planning and utilization of existing assets nationally etc. 

DST at the behest of the Expert Panel may introduce/ change criteria for critical evaluation of award.


Project duration: Upto 3 years 

  • The proposals should clearly define the objectives and list the deliverables.
  • The CV of the project investigators should be brief and highlight their competence and experience related to the proposed project area. Consortia is desirable  with roles and responsibilities of each partner.
  • The industry partner should have proven standing and R&D capability in Energy Technologies and should exhibit the potential to commercialize the products/systems developed under the proposal.
  • The extent of participation and contribution of the industry partner should be clearly defined. Participating Industry would be required to invest within its own system i.e. production/ test lines and/or develop required infrastructure to adopt research leads and is expected to bring design and engineering capability for the benefit of the project. 


Proposals are accepted only online at e-PMS under Technology Mission Division in the prescribed format within the prescribed closing Date/Time. Proposal format can be downloaded from the Website. Go to: Schemes And Formats: Technology Mission Division :[Challenge Award 2021:Solar Energy]: Download  Call format. 

Kindly take care of the following instructions while submission of proposal

  • Before filling up the form, Indian applicants are advised to carefully go through the relevant call document and guidelines at the DST Website ( and also available under Proposal Formats in the e-PMS Portal after logging in to the portal site.
  • To save time and avoid data loss, please download the appropriate proposal format and fill all the information required as per the format as a Word and PDF file and then keep it ready for upload during submission of mandatory documents.
  • Click on the “Submit proposals” link which would take to a page seeking multiple information starting with – General information, Principal investigator etc.:
  • After filling in all the above particulars, there is a provision to preview your details before the final submission of the application form by clicking on the “Preview” button. The preview page will display all facts/particulars that have been mentioned on entry time. If the applicant is sure with filled details, then click on the “Submit” button to finally push data into the server.
  • Applicants are advised to carefully fill in and verify the details required for the online application themselves, as no change will be possible/ entertained after clicking the FINAL SUBMIT BUTTON.

Important dates

  • Opening date: 01st November 2021
  • Call closing date: 31st December 2021

Click here to view the official notification of Challenge Awards 2021 on Solar Energy by DST.

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