Today, Secretary Chu announced more details of the Department’s “SunShot” initiative to bring the total costs of utility scale solar energy systems down about 75% - to roughly $1 a watt - by 2020, a feat that would 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 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. The SunShot initiative will build on, and expedite, this success.
As Secretary Chu said today: “America is in a world race to produce cost-effective, quality photovoltaics. 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. These efforts will boost our economic competitiveness, rebuild our manufacturing industry and help reach the President’s goal of doubling our clean energy in the next 25 years.”