Federal purse reopens for solar science

October 27, 2011


The U.S. Department of Energy announced this week $60 million in funding for scientists to develop “revolutionary research” to lower the cost of solar power systems.

The DOE SunShot Initiative is baiting researchers to increase efficiency of commercial solar power (CSP) systems and lower costs to six cents per kilowatt hour by the end of the decade. 

The initiative is being called a “sign of the times for the sector“, and comes amidst accusations the government is squandering taxpayer money on businesses doomed to fail, best exemplified by recently bankrupt solar heavyweight Solyndra.

The DOE says the SunShot CSP grant is meant to look beyond short-term innovation and explore transformative concepts with the “potential to break through performance barriers like efficiency and temperature limitations,” the DOE announced. It wants scientists to think big.

With billions invested in multiple CSP plants throughout the southwestern states, improving CSP generation to the point where it can once again compete with cheaper solar photovoltaic panels appears to be an important priority for the DOE, writes Energy Matters.

China may have cornered today’s subsidy-dependent markets for solar cells in recent years, but they have not yet won the race to make solar energy cheap. writes Jesse Jenkins at Forbes.


(Photo shows U.S. President Barack Obama lifting a solar panel as he tours Solyndra, Inc., a solar panel manufacturing facility in Fremont, California May 26, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

When are you going to realise that it’s not the generating of electricity that is the problem it’s the storing of it that counts.
If we could store it and then covert it up to 240 volts ac to use at night or peak times this would save the huge and sometimes unsafe generating processes that we have.

Yes we do need advances in solar panels but we need a better and longer lasting means to store it.

Posted by Ian79 | Report as abusive

its a great thing happening because the fuels are going to die one day and then we are totally dependent on the solar energy. It should happen in whole globe that all countries should think of the future now because we are living good life so we should do things which make the life of our coming generations quite smooth.

BD manager

Posted by Kevincook | Report as abusive