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Happy New Year! Before we close out 2017, let’s take a look back at some of the big things we did on and what you liked and shared the most on social media.

1. We introduced you to our new Energy Secretary!

Secretary Perry town hall

In March, Rick Perry was sworn in as the 14th Secretary of Energy, bringing leadership skills honed during his time as Texas governor, when the Lone Star state led the nation in energy production. Since then, he’s visited several National Labstravelled around the world to advance American energy, and muchmuch more. Watch this video to get to know Secretary Perry and follow him on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

2. got a makeover.

This summer we revamped to improve your experience with the site and make it easier to find what you need. We got rid of the clutter, focusing more on visuals and giving -- which averages more than 3 million page views per month -- a more modern feel.

3. We launched season two of our podcast.

17 labs in 17 mins home page

Since the first season of Direct Current was so nice, we did it twice! In April, we started dishing out a fresh batch of Energy Department stories but with a tiny twist. Short Circuits, mini-episodes to hold you over between our longer full-length shows, featured stories about a magic oil sponge, a small-town girl who worked on one of the biggest secret projects in history, the origins of the light bulb, and more. For our full episodes, we told 17 stories about the 17 National Labs in 17 minutes, took you on a trip to hyper drive time, and revealed some energy secrets. If you haven’t yet, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, you won’t be disappointed. Don’t just take our word for it, NPR called Direct Current “a bit more ambitious” than other government podcasts.

4. A new Solar Decathlon champion was crowned.

solar decathlon 2017 swiss team crowned champion

There were a lot of firsts at the 2017 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, where student teams from around the world designed, built, and operated ultra-energy-efficient, solar-powered houses. It was the first time the event was held in Denver, Colorado, where it snowed for the first time in Solar Decathlon history. The Swiss Team took home the top prize while University of Maryland won second and the University of California, Berkeley, and University of Denver placed third place overall. Curious about what the houses looked like and how they were made? Check out our Facebook tours of each incredible Solar Decathlon house!

5. We shined a light on STEM.

Speaking of students, we’re focusing a lot of our energy on them through our new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math -- or STEM -- campaign. It’s called STEM Rising, an effort to connect students and teachers from around the country with all of the Energy Department and National Lab STEM-related programs and resources. Stay updated with the STEM Rising blog and weekly newsletter. Also, download and print our #WomenInSTEM coloring book. It’s fun for all ages!

6. Hype videos energized you.

This Is Energy (U.S. Department of Energy)

It was another big year for the Energy Department and we shared the excitement through some adrenaline-pumping videos about our 40th anniversary, the nuclear Navy, weatherization, and more. Watch all of our videos on YouTube.

7. America witnessed a total eclipse of the sun.

solar eclipse graphic

In August, solar eclipse mania swept across America and for good reason. The last time the United States witnessed a total solar eclipse was February 1979! We joined in on the fun with a podcast episode about how the eclipse could potentially impact the power grid.

Thanks for an amazing year. Stay tuned for even bigger things to come in 2018!