Solar Success Stories

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The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) successes in developing more efficient and less expensive solar energy technologies translate into easy access and large-scale energy savings. Explore EERE's solar energy success stories below.

December 3, 2018
The first prototype of the non-contact scanner
EERE Success Story—Inspector Gadget: New Device Can Spot Defects in Photovoltaic Modules
Startup Tau Science’s scanner shows signs of module damage and keeps repair crews safe.
June 16, 2017
Sunvapor Success Story Solar
EERE Success Story—Concentrating Solar Power Transforms Food Processing with Solar Steam
Sunvapor designed a solar collector to cut costs and optimize the supply chain by using less energy to manufacture the structural components.
June 9, 2017
Solar neighborhood fly over
EERE Success Story—Real Estate Professionals Embrace Solar Power
As solar energy’s popularity continues to grow among homeowners, it’s changing the way people buy and sell homes.
May 3, 2017
Testing at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory enables larger amounts of renewable energy on the nation’s electric grid.
EERE Success Story—Solar Software Platform Fast-Tracks Grid Connections

GridUnity—formerly Qado Energy— set out to completely change the interconnection process with a cloud-connected tool that determines a solar...

April 12, 2017
SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant in Nevada is the first utility-scale facility in the world to use advanced molten salt receiver technology, which was developed with funding from the SunShot Initiative. The 110 megawatt power plant incorporates storage to power 75,000 homes, day or night. Photo Courtesy of SolarReserve.
EERE Success Story—Mirage to Reality: Energy Department Investment Brings Crescent Dunes to Life

The same visionary scientists responsible for pioneering space exploration are also behind a national effort to commercialize concentrating solar...

March 14, 2017
The CoServ Solar Station in Krugerville, Texas. Photo: KEN OLTMANN/CoServ
EERE Success Story—Electric Cooperatives Channel Solar Resources to Rural American Communities

Some of the most remote areas in the United States were among the last locations to access electricity, with as many as nine out of 10 rural homes...

March 8, 2017
Seth and Nancy Portner and their daughter Lettie visit with a neighbor in front of their Boulder home that has a 3.7 kW solar array on the roof. | Photo Courtesy: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
EERE Success Story—Solar Savings and Benefits Multiply with Energy Tradeoff Calculator

When attracting new solar customers, a savings forecast is at the heart of every solar installer’s pitch. A savings forecast helps potential...

March 2, 2017
The DOE SunShot loop is designed to demonstrate highly efficient turbine expander and recuperator performance for advanced supercritical carbon dioxide concentrating solar power cycles. Photo courtesy of Southwest Research Institute.
EERE Success Story—Supercharging Concentrating Solar Power Plant Performance

Supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycles have the potential to reduce the cost of concentrating solar power (CSP) by substantially...

February 1, 2017
National Renewable Energy Laboratory engineer Greg Martin (from left) works with Solectria engineers Jonathon Smith and Jihua Ma testing Solectria's smart inverter at the Energy Systems Integration Facility in Golden, Colorado. | Photo by Dennis Schroeder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
EERE Success Story—SunShot-funded Advanced Inverter Testing Enables 2,500 Solar Energy Systems to Connect to Hawaii’s Electric Grid

Thanks to a SunShot collaboration at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in December 2015 Hawaiian Electric...

January 10, 2017
EERE Success Story—Empire State Strikes Back: Solar Will Help New York City Rebound After National Disasters
With the help of the SunShot Initiative, Sustainable CUNY began work on the Smart Distributed Generation (DG) Hub-Resilient Solar Project, a roadma...
December 16, 2016
Solar Success Stories
EERE Success Story—The Future's So Bright, You've got to Wear Shades: The Roles of the Department of Energy, National Laboratories, and...

​In 1975, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) decided to harness the power of the sun, launching the Solar Energy Research Institute, which later...

November 8, 2016
Pictured above is De-Meter’s inaugural project for Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center, a 200kW combination rooftop and carport distributed generation installation in San Leandro, CA. Photo courtesy of De-Meter.
EERE Success Story—Setting the PACE for Commercial Solar Growth

Big box retailers are leading in commercial solar installations in the United States, but solar’s energy-saving benefits aren’t limited to Fortune...

November 1, 2016
SunPower is using drones and robotics to improve the development and operation of large-scale solar projects. Photo courtesy of SunPower.
EERE Success Story—Drones Help Solar Site Design Take Flight

The commercial and civic benefits of drones are growing—from surveying the eye of a hurricane to helping farmers maintain healthy crops—enabling...

October 24, 2016
Sun Number Scores show a home’s solar potential and are now available on Zillow’s website for more than 35 million homes across the United States.
EERE Success Story—Sun Number Partnership with Zillow Brings Solar Potential Scores to Millions of Americans

Millions of Americans looking to buy a home have a new resource to help them go solar in the process. Thanks to a partnership between SunShot...

September 30, 2016
The Energy Resource Center installed a 2-kilowatt solar PV system at a WAP-eligible home in Colorado Springs.
EERE Success Story—Colorado Becomes First State to Install Solar as Part of Weatherization Assistance Program

For 40 years, the Energy Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has focused on advancing energy efficiency in the residential sector,...

August 31, 2016
III-V/Si multi-junction solar cells developed at Ohio State University undergo illuminated current-voltage testing.
EERE Success Story—Solving the Efficiency Puzzle: New Solar Cells Open Pathway to 40% Theoretical Efficiency

The solar cells found in today’s typical photovoltaic (PV) solar panels convert about 20% to 23% of the light that passes through them into...

April 4, 2016
The SLAC/NREL research team poses with the rapid thermal processing instrument at SLAC, which allowed them to uncover how contact paste performs in solar modules.
EERE Success Story - Back to the Basics: Studying Solar Cell Components

As any athlete will tell you, going back to the basics when practicing a sport can provide a refreshed perspective on skills that will improve...

March 21, 2016
Photo Courtesy | CET+Power
EERE Success Story-NREL Partners with Google in Little Box Challenge

Last month, Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) announced Belgium’s Red Electrical Devils (a team from CE+T...

February 9, 2016
Photo Courtesy: Solarize Connecticut
EERE Success Story—Sowing Seeds for Success: Interdisciplinary Research Blossoms at DOE

The SunShot Initiative is well known for serving as one of the first sources of seed funding for cutting-edge solar energy technologies. At the...

January 7, 2016
Solar installers dressed up as superheroes to complete the installation on the KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Washington as part of the Solarize Bellevue campaign. Photo by Allison DeAngelis.
EERE Success Story—Challenge Accepted: Reducing the Soft Costs of Going Solar

Every year, it becomes even more affordable to “go solar.” However, one thing remains consistent: the non-hardware, or “soft” costs related to...

October 29, 2015
This solar photovoltaic (PV) array is being tested in hot, humid weather at the Cocoa, Florida Regional Test Center.
EERE Success Story—Putting Solar Panels to the Test

Mother Nature can be unpredictable. Sometimes she sends hail; other times, damaging winds; and if you live in a cold climate, she loves to send...

October 27, 2015
EERE Success Story—Solar Forecasting Gets a Boost from Watson, Accuracy Improved by 30%

Remember when IBM’s super computer Watson defeated Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter? With funding from the U.S. Department of...

October 2, 2015
Suniva employee doing quality assurance testing at its Georgia headquarters. Photo Courtesy: Suniva
EERE Success Story—SunShot-Supported Company to Create 500 New Solar Manufacturing Jobs
SunShot awardee Suniva, a manufacturer of high efficiency crystalline silicone solar cells and modules, has announced it will expand its manufacturing
August 27, 2015
The ConnectDER device, seen above, sits in between the meter and the meter socket.
EERE Success Story—Connection Without the Costs

Consumers who are planning to go solar can now save hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars in the process, thanks to a new invention that was...

August 12, 2015
Caption: Inverters allow for the electricity produced by solar panels to be converted into electricity. Licensed photo courtesy of Lauren Wellicome.
EERE Success Story—SunShot Funding Spurs Standardized Testing for “Smart” Solar Inverters

Solar inverters are one of the most important components of a solar energy system. These power electronic devices convert the direct current...