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Department of Energy launches initiative to bring down solar energy costs

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $27 million in projects to advance solar development and manufacturing through its SunShot Initiative whose goal is to achieve cost competitive solar energy by 2020.

The hope is that the SunShot initiative can reduce the total costs of photovoltaic solar energy systems by about 75 percent so that they are cost competitive at large scale with other forms of energy, without subsidies, before the end of the decade.  This level of cost reduction would make the cost of solar roughly $1 a watt – which would correspond to roughly 6 cents per kilowatt-hour – spurring the broad deployment of solar energy systems across the country and, at these price points, helping regain American economic competitiveness in the global market for solar photovoltaics.

The SunShot program builds on the legacy of President Kennedy’s 1960s “moon shot” goal, which laid out a plan to regain the country’s lead in the space race and land a man on the moon. The program hopes to aggressively drive innovations in the ways that solar systems are conceived, designed, manufactured and installed.

In addition to investing in improvements in cell technologies and manufacturing, the SunShot initiative will also focus on steps to streamline and digitize local permitting processes that will reduce installation and permitting costs. To achieve the SunShot goal of reducing the total installed cost of large scale solar electricity by about 75 percent, DOE will be working closely with partners in government, industry, research laboratories and academic institutions across the country.

For more information and to follow the initiative’s progress, visit the SunShot Initiative webpage.