The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is at the forefront of creating a clean energy economy. EERE helps develop and deliver: market-driven solutions for energy-saving homes, buildings, and manufacturing; sustainable transportation; and renewable electricity generation. In partnership with businesses, industry, universities, research labs, and others, EERE works to develop affordable, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Here on EERE Success Stories, we celebrate the milestones and accomplishments in which EERE has played a role. Below are the five most popular EERE Successes articles this year:

1. UQM Patents Non-Rare Earth Magnet Motor under DOE-Supported Project

Through a cooperative R&D project with the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), UQM Technologies, a company developing propulsion systems for electric, hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles recently patented a new design for electric vehicle motors that use non-rare earth magnets.


2. Plug and Play: Purchase, Install, and Connect Residential Solar Power in Hours

Consumers may soon have the option of purchasing a do-it-yourself rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system at their local home improvement store that can be installed and connected to the grid in less than a day. Thanks to SunShot Initiative awardee Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE), a novel residential Plug and Play PV system may soon be commercially available.


3. SunShot Incubator Awardee Helps Companies Offer Discount Solar as Employee Perk

Employees at companies such as 3M, Cisco Systems, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Johnson and Johnson, National Geographic Society, and Principal Financial Group, can now go solar at a significant discount as part of their employee benefits package. This “Solar Community” initiative began in 2014 and is facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund and managed by Geostellar. It is considered a first-of-its-kind nationwide bulk solar purchase program that expands access to solar energy for participating employees, their families, and communities.


4. New Refrigerant Boosts Energy Efficiency of Supermarket Display Cases

Research supported by the Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office has led to a major breakthrough in refrigeration systems’ efficiency, and the result may yield big energy savings for supermarkets nationwide and greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Department funded Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) cooperative research and development agreement with Honeywell to develop an alternative refrigerant that minimizes the environmental footprint of supermarket refrigeration systems.


5. Mapping the Frontier of New Wind Power Potential

Partnered with AWS Truepower, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Energy Department’s Wind Program released maps in December 2014 that highlight the potential for wind energy development using more advanced wind turbine technologies with higher hub heights of 110 and 140 meters. The resource potential maps show that as wind turbine technology advances and can be installed at higher hub heights, areas with previously limited wind resources–such as the southeastern United States–have the opportunity to add new wind power capacity using taller utility-scale wind energy technologies.


Thanks for reading EERE Successes!