Innovative Pathways – EERE Technology-to-Market Initiative

12 Aug 2017

The Innovative Pathways funding program, managed by the Technology-to-Market Initiative in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, addresses specific barriers that transformative energy technologies face on the pathway to market. The SunShot Initiative funds the four solar energy projects of the 11 in this program totaling $3.6 million. The projects develop and test new ways to integrate emerging technologies into the energy industry and unlock private sector resources to support energy innovation. This funding program uses small amounts of funding to catalyze long-term change that is ultimately sustained by the private sector, yielding a maximum return on investment.

DOE announced the Innovative Pathways funding program on August 1, 2017. Read the announcement.


Innovative Pathways focuses on improving the pathway to market for energy innovations as opposed to supporting development beyond early-stage research. The selected projects address underlying systemic challenges that new energy technologies face along the pathway to market. Collectively, the projects are working to unlock private sector support for early-stage energy innovation and transform how new energy technologies reach the market.


Innovative Pathways projects will bolster U.S. economic growth and competitiveness by creating a better, more efficient pathway to market. This includes building a better conduit between industry and early-stage innovation, creating better models for providing capital at early stages, and leveraging existing resources for better capital efficiency.


Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations.

Activation Energy

Location: Berkeley, CA
SunShot Funding Amount: $928,736
Awardee Cost Share: $232,184
Project Description: This project is building a fund that provides early investors with technology testing data rather than company equity. By using shared lab resources to reduce technical risk efficiently, the new fund seeks to provide valuable insight to early funders without overly constraining the commercialization pathway of nascent companies.

Clean Energy Trust

Location: Chicago, IL
SunShot Funding Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $247,750
Project Description: This project is creating a new fund structure that uses philanthropic support for operational expenses, allowing investment dollars to have greater impact. The new structure intends to make early-stage energy investing more attractive for traditional funders.

Pecan Street

Location: Austin, TX
SunShot Funding Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $250,000
Project Description: This project is developing a program that links third-party validation of emerging technologies with subsequent investment decisions. This model will streamline the process of obtaining investment based on technology validation and provide potential funders with concrete data on which to base investment decisions.

Powerhouse Accelerator LLC

Location: Oakland, CA
SunShot Funding Amount: $663,817
Awardee Cost Share: $165,954
Project Description: This project is developing a repeatable workshop-based method to forge partnerships between early-stage innovators and end users, minimizing the burden of identifying product-market fit for all parties.