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The SunShot Initiative’s Solar Blog features the latest stories about the work of the solar energy technologies office within the Department of Energy. Learn more about us.

September 16, 2016
Solar Blog
Getting the Most out of Solar Panels

Our SunShot Initiative is funding important research into how to get more power out of solar panels by improving their durability, efficiency and performance in real-world conditions.

September 14, 2016
A 250-megawatt solar project on the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians’ Moapa River Reservation in Nevada. This project was one of the first utility-scale solar project on tribal land.
Dropping Pins: SunShot Incubator Software Startups Put Solar on the Map

The software space is a growing market for small startups to thrive in the solar industry. These companies help to address crucial information gaps for data that solar project developers need to find a suitable location and for utilities to run interconnection studies.

September 13, 2016
Solar homes on the Helemano Military Reservation in Hawaii generate electricity that the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) integrates onto the island’s electric grid. | <em> Photo courtesy of HECO </em>
Collaboration Station: Utility and Solar Company Partnerships Further Solar’s Reach

Earlier this year, the solar industry passed a key milestone: 1 million solar installations are connected to the nation’s electricity grid. Now, we’re looking forward to 2 million solar installations—a record that is expected to be reached in 2018. This large influx of solar, which is by nature an intermittent energy source, creates unique challenges for our country’s more than 3,000 electric utility companies.

September 12, 2016
Charlie Gay Joins the SunShot Initiative to Leave a Lasting Impact

The SunShot Initiative welcomes Dr. Charlie Gay, the program’s new director, a solar industry pioneer who has witnessed its rise from a niche technology that powered microwave repeaters on isolated mountaintops to the robust business it is today.

August 29, 2016
National Lab Research: Leading the Way to a Future Powered by Solar

Over the past 50 years, the Energy Department's national laboratories have played a major role in the advancement of solar energy technology. That’s why SunShot created the SunShot National Laboratory Multiyear Partnership funding program, which awards funding to national labs to continue addressing the most critical barriers that remain to achieving our SunShot goals.

August 4, 2016
Giant Leap Technologies uses microfluidics to bend light toward a solar at the top of the plant. Each solar thermal power plant shown is a football field in size.  |  <em>Photo courtesy of Giant Leap Technologies</em>
Cutting-Edge Science Drives SunShot Projects

The Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative funds cutting-edge science that helps dramatically reduce the cost of solar energy. Drawn from diverse inspiration in the optical and medical fields, and featuring one with new uses for sound waves, these newly announced SunShot research and development projects may hold the key to low-cost solar energy.

July 28, 2016
Paying For Solar – Tips For Financing a Residential System

After you’ve made the decision to go solar, the next step is figuring out how to pay for it. Assuming you don’t have the cash to buy your solar energy system upfront, like the vast majority of Americans, there are a variety of financing options to help you hitch onto the solar bandwagon and start increasing the value of your home.

July 27, 2016
Solar homes are being sold across the country, but they can be hard to find and compare. Teams from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Elevate Energy are working to ensure that solar is properly represented in multiple listing services. | Photos courtesy of Solar Design Associates, Namaste Solar Electric, and Decker Homes
Shopping for a Solar Home Made Easy — SunShot and the Future of Solar Home-Buying

Solar homes are being sold across the country, but they can be hard to find and compare. Teams from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Elevate Energy are working to ensure that solar is properly represented in multiple listing services, the searchable databases used by real estate professionals and house hunters.

July 26, 2016
There are a lot of misconceptions about residential solar. | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
5 Common Myths About Residential Solar

The amount of solar connected to the grid has grown exponentially in the past several years, and with all of this interest and so much information available, let’s take a moment to separate fact from fiction. The SunShot Initiative has debunked the top 5 myths about residential solar.

July 25, 2016
Solar Blog
SunShot Programs Bring Solar Energy Basics to Real Estate Pros

Recent research shows that adding solar to your home — much like renovating the kitchen or finishing the basement — can boost your home's value and resulting home sale price.

June 28, 2016
The Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment program, also known as GEARED, is a training and education framework that prepares current and future utility-sector professionals to operate the electric grid with increasingly higher levels of solar electricity.
Preparing Students for Our Nation’s Changing Energy Portfolio

The utility sector is going through a rapid transformation as more renewables come online and more Americans choose to go solar. Adding large quantities of distributed energy onto the grid requires the workforce to acquire new knowledge and skills, which SunShot is enabling through its GEARED program.

June 16, 2016
This array on the roof of Eastern Mennonite University’s library sets the stage for the school to add even more solar through Solar Market Pathways.
Sun-Powered Schools: Helping Universities Go Solar

Dormitory mini fridges, dishwashers in dining halls, and campus computer labs are just a few of the things that can create large utility bills for colleges and universities across the country. The SunShot Initiative is working to make it easier for college campuses to use solar energy to help ease the financial burden of around-the-clock operation.

June 13, 2016
The Lifeworks installation by Austin Energy, a SHINES awardee. | Photo courtesy of Austin Energy
Meet Guohui Yuan: SunShot Welcomes Big-Picture Thinker to New Solar Role

The SunShot Initiative’s new systems integration program manager, Dr. Guohui Yuan, maintains a steadfast commitment to add more solar energy onto the nation’s electrical grid while always striving to achieve the office’s broader goals. “Because of my physics background I always look at problems at the system level — not just the issue, but the big picture,” he says.

June 6, 2016
Installing a concentrating solar power system in Gila Bend, Arizona. The curved  mirrors are tilted toward the sun, focusing sunlight on tubes that run the length of the mirrors. The reflected sunlight heats a fluid flowing through the tubes. The hot fluid then is used to boil water in a conventional steam-turbine generator to produce electricity. | Photo by Dennis Schroeder.
Top 6 Things You Didn't Know About Solar Energy

Counting down our list of top things you didn't know about solar energy -- read on for more on the most abundant energy resource known to mankind.

May 31, 2016
Solar Blog
ENERGISE-ing Solutions to Scale Up Distributed Solar

If a utility pole falls in a forest and no energy company employee is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Currently, the answer is no. The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative is trying to fix this problem to alleviate issues for both utilities and their customers.

May 18, 2016
Solar Blog
Halfway There But Far From Done: SunShot Surges Ahead on Path to Affordable Solar Energy

Halfway through the Energy Department’s decade-long SunShot Initiative, today we released a series of reports showing how the solar industry has progressed in the past five years, while looking forward to the challenges and opportunities it now faces. The On the Path to SunShot study series, developed with our national labs, examines the state of the solar industry, which has grown significantly in the last five years and is 70% of the way toward our goal to make solar fully cost-competitive with traditional forms of energy without incentives.

May 3, 2016
With 1 Million Solar Projects Across America, SunShot Shines On

The solar industry recently passed a major milestone when the 1 millionth solar system was installed at a home or business in the United States. Find out what the SunShot Initiative has in store for the future of solar as it continues to spur job growth, economic activity, tax revenue and clean air to all Americans.

April 7, 2016
Solar Blog
Shining Sunlight on SunShot’s Project Portfolio

A new interactive project map gives the public a birds-eye view of more than 200 active projects in EERE's SunShot Initiative. Working to make solar energy cost competitive, SunShot is showing where the projects are, what they're setting out to discover, and more.

March 30, 2016
Deputy Secretary Liz Sherwood-Randall with the graduates of the Solar Ready Vets program at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.
Graduating to a Bright Tomorrow: Solar Ready Vets Class Graduates from Hill AFB

Deputy Secretary of Energy Liz Sherwood-Randall visited Hill Air Force Base in Utah recently to celebrate with 18 graduates of EERE's Solar Ready Vets program. This program helps transition military veterans into civilian careers in the solar industry, with promising results to date.

February 25, 2016
Solar Blog
Soft Costs 101: The Key to Achieving Cheaper Solar Energy

When buying a solar power system, hardware is not the only expense. There are also "soft costs": permits, financing, installation costs, and more. EERE's SunShot Initiative is working to address those, so that solar power can be even more cost-competitive.

February 18, 2016
Solar Blog
Solar Ready Vets: Inside the Training

EERE's Solar Ready Vets program provides training in solar technology for service members leaving the military. It's a win for both: veterans enter the workforce equipped with skills that are increasingly in demand, while solar technology companies get workers with military discipline and can-do spirit.

January 26, 2016
This two megawatt installation at Denver International Airport is owned by Constellation Energy, a utility based in Baltimore, MD. (Photo Courtesy: Denver International Airport)
Utilities Bringing More Solar Energy to Families and Businesses

The SunShot Initiative works with utilities to help generate, integrate, and distribute solar energy. EERE recently announced $18 million in funding for projects with utilities, potentially allowing hundreds of gigawatts of solar energy to be added to the grid.

January 19, 2016
EERE SunShot’s SHINES Program: Enabling a Rapidly Solarizing Electricity Grid Through Energy Storage

The Department of Energy has recently created the Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI), an ongoing effort that reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to improve the resiliency, reliability, and security of the nation’s grid, while adding growing amounts of renewable energy.

January 12, 2016
American solar power continued its rapid growth in 2015, adding new jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy, while saving customers tens of millions of dollars per year on energy bills. | Photo courtesy of O2emc.
Solar Energy Jobs Outpace U.S. Economy

American solar power continued its rapid growth in 2015, adding new jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy, while saving customers tens of millions of dollars per year on energy bills.

January 7, 2016
Solar Blog
In Case You Missed Them: Our Top Blog Posts from December

As we start the new year, we're taking a look back at December 2015--our top blog posts and some favorites we want to share with you. Happy New Year!