Photovoltaic research at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
(Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/Roy Kaltschmidt)
U.S. DoE Secretary Steven Chu provided details of the new SunShot initiative, designed to reduce the cost of solar power by 75% in 10 years. The target of $1 per installed watt will make solar power cost competitive with fossil fuels, and will eliminate the need for expensive subsidies of solar power. The focus will be on advances in materials and manufacturing efficiency. “If it gets down to $1 per watt, it really means that you’re generating electricity that’s comparable to or lower than other sources of generating electricity, so it becomes the low-cost option. We want this to be competitive without subsidies,” Chu said.
The $27 million program will fund research into new manufacturing techniques for the solar cells and the related electronics needed for solar panel installations (like inverters).