Sec. Chu Announces More 'SunShot' Details

The SunShot initiative from the U.S. Department of Energy, aims to bring the total costs of utility scale solar energy systems down about 75% by 2020, allegedly making large scale solar energy cost competitive with electricity from fossil fuels.


Secretary Chu announced more details on the Department’s "SunShot" initiative to bring the total costs of utility scale solar energy systems down about 75% - to roughly $1 per watt - by 2020, a feat that would reportedly make large scale solar energy cost competitive with electricity from fossil fuels.

The Department of Energy's SunShot initiative will focus on 4 main pillars:

  • Advancing technologies for the solar cells and systems that convert sunlight into energy;
  • Optimizing the performance of solar installation;
  • Improving the efficiency of the solar system manufacturing processes; and
  • Improving the efficiency for installation, design and permitting for solar energy systems.

As part of the SunShot initiative, the Department of Energy is awarding $27 million to nine new solar projects. These projects will focus on strengthening the U.S. supply chain for solar manufacturing and on commercializing cutting-edge photovoltaic technologies. They will help increase solar cell efficiency, reduce production costs, open new markets for solar energy and make solar electricity more accessible to consumers.

Additionally, these projects include $7 million from the Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to shorten the amount of time it takes to move promising new solar technologies from development to commercialization.

In the last 10 years, the Department of Energy has reportedly invested more than $1 billion in solar energy research and development, which -- combined with research and investments from universities, labs and the private sector -- has helped drive the cost of solar down 60 percent since 1995, according to the DOE. The SunShot initiative will build on, and expedite, this success.

Secretary Chu explained that the SunShot initiative will spur American innovations to reduce the costs of solar energy and re-establish U.S. global leadership in this growing industry, resulting with a boost in economic competitiveness, rebuilding the manufacturing industry and reaching the President’s goal of doubling clean energy in the next 25 years.

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