We had a special situation this week with the DOE’s Minh Le jumping on a podcast to discuss the DOE’s SunShot Initiative. Minh Le is the director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, where he helps manage and balance the portfolio of Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment programs in achieving our national SunShot goals. Prior to his current role at the Energy Department, Minh spent his career in industry developing technologies and scaling new technologies to high volume manufacturing. Minh earned his SB and SM degrees from MIT where he held fellowships by the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the Bose Foundation. Learn more about Minh and the SunShot Initiative on this week’s bonus CleanTechnica/TalkSolar Podcast!
The SunShot Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office focuses on achieving the goals of the SunShot Initiative, which seeks to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade.
WHAT WE DO
The SunShot Initiative drives research, manufacturing, and market solutions to make the abundant solar energy resources in the United States more affordable and accessible for Americans.
Since the SunShot Initiative was announced in February 2011, the Solar Office has funded more than 350 projects in the following areas:
- Photovoltaics (PV)
- Concentrating solar power (CSP)
- Balance of systems costs (soft costs)
- Systems integration.
WHY IT MATTERS
The energy challenges Americans face demand that we use an “all-of-the-above” approach that couples our domestic fossil energy resources with renewable sources to achieve sustainable energy independence that lowers costs for consumers. DOE is supporting a range of key activities by private companies, academia, and national laboratories to drive down the installed cost of solar.
When the price of solar electricity reaches about $0.06 per kilowatt-hour over its lifetime, it will be cost-competitive with other non-renewable forms of electricity. This in turn will enable solar-generated power to grow from less than .05% of the current electricity supply to roughly 14% by 2030 and 27% by 2050, as projected in the SunShot Vision Study.
As recently as 1995, the United States maintained a dominant position in the solar marketplace, manufacturing 43% of the world’s PV panels. The U.S. market share has steadily declined in recent years, shrinking to 27% by 2000 and to 7% by 2010. SunShot will help re-establish American technological and market leadership, improve the nation’s energy independence, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness.
A future in which the goals of the SunShot Initiative are met would ultimately benefit every American by:
- Making clean, low-cost, reliable solar energy available for home owners, communities, businesses, and government
- Reducing emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) and other pollutants
- Creating U.S. jobs through domestic solar manufacturing and distribution.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.