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Clean Power US, Germany and Japan unite for solar research

Published on July 12th, 2012 | by Tina Casey


New Solar Power Supergroup: U.S., Germany and Japan

July 12th, 2012 by  

US, Germany and Japan unite for solar researchForget your Avengers, your X-Men and your other super-groups (yes, we’re talking about you, Queens of the Stone Age), if there is any planet saving to be done from now on it will be accomplished by the new Global Alliance of Solar Energy Research Institutions. Okay, so the name makes for a tight fit across the front of your typical superhero costume, but the new alliance could provide the global solar industry with the kind of rocket-propelled boost that it needs to break through into the mainstream energy landscape.

Three Solar Power Research Powerhouses

GASERI joins the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems and Japan’s Research Center for Photovoltaic Technologies.

As NREL rather drily puts it, the goal is to “accelerate progress toward shared solar research and development goals as well as to ensure sustainable long-term use of solar energy.”

The core of GASERI will be an exchange program, in which each of the three participants will send researchers to each others’ laboratories for long term, collaborative projects lasting up to two years.

NREL, Fraunhofer and RCPT

NREL should ring a bell with regular CleanTechnica readers, since it has been a pioneer in the solar energy field across 35 years of both Democratic and Republican administrations.

We’ve covered some of NREL’s solar power projects such as its work on see-through solar cells in partnership with the company New Energy Technologies,  and we’ve also talked about some of the educational tools NREL has created for the renewable energy industry and the general public including a free online renewable energy map and a tool for rating green utilities.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems is Europe’s largest applied solar power research organization, with multiple research alliances across Europe and in the U.S., and significant funding from private sector partners in the solar power industry.

A sprawling network of research and industry affiliations will also come into play for the Research Center for Photovoltaic Technologies, which is part of Japan’s  National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

No More Solyndras?

The announcement of this significant international effort to boost the global solar power industry comes as the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives considers “No More Solyndras” legislation that would shoot down the Department of Energy’s successful loan guarantee program.

The loan program provided funding for the notoriously failed Solyndra company, but it has also played a key role in helping the U.S. solar power industry position itself to regain the leadership status it once held in the global solar market.

If the loan guarantee program is ended, it will take away critical support from the U.S. solar industry, leaving the fruits of GASERI’s research to companies based in Germany, Japan, and elsewhere around the globe.

Oh, well.

Image: Some rights reserved by Brooks Elliott.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

  • ThomasGerke

    Great news 🙂 Love the comic book reference 😀

  • Matt

    Japan, may be a bit slow out of the blocks and need a nuclear kick in the pants to get started. But with its new FIT, I expect it to start moving very fast.
    USA has shown research muscle. But is not living up to the potential; as my mother would say. I, as a USA person, feel like a wall flower with acme at the dance. I keep hoping that the US can step up and join in.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Looks like Japan is making it through the summer with putting only two reactors back on line.  

      If they can maintain at that level there’s a good chance they could shut those two back down with a year of increased renewable installations.

      • Yeah, the FiT must be making those in the nuke industry there pretty nervous…

        • ThomasGerke

          Massive disinformation going on in Japan to deactivate citizens. The powerful nuclear lobby is trying to regain some kind of control. 

          Fortunatly there has also been a massive disillusion due to the nuclear disaster. People don’t trust “experts” of the old guard… a very good developement since those “experts” are either lying or incredible ignorant… as they are in any country. 

          Since a overwhelming part of the japanese mass media is useless to provide citizens with important information, it’s difficult to tell how well alternative media sources reach a wide range of people. 

          Many hopeful signs though and there seems to be alot of international networking taking place to share information & expericence. 

          (Especially between Germany, Denmark, Ontario,.. and Japan)

    • Thanks. Completely agree: on Japan and…. (the US)

  • Ross

    Italy currently ranks above junior or protégé class superheroes US and Japan.

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