U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu Friday announced that $27 million will be awarded to nine new projects as part of thegovernment’s $200 million per year “SunShot” initiative to bring thetotal costs of utility scale solar energy systems down about 75 percent– to roughly $1 a watt – by 2020.
DoE estimates that if the installed costs for solar energysystems drop to $1 per watt — equivalent to a cost of 5-6 cents perkilowatt hour — solar without subsidies would be competitive with thewholesale rate of electricity nearly everywhere in the U.S.
SunShot aims to restore the country’s once-dominant position in the global market for solar photovoltaics, which has dwindled from 43percent in 1995 to only six percent today.
The SunShot initiative will continue to accelerate and advancethe DoE’s existing research efforts by refocusing its solar energyprograms — valued at approximately $200 million per year — to support atargeted roadmap to meet the SunShot goal by the end of the decade.
"These efforts will boost our economic competitiveness, rebuild our manufacturing industry and help reach the President’s goal ofdoubling our clean energy in the next 25 years," Chu said.
Chu said the SunShot program builds on the legacy of PresidentKennedy’s 1960s "moon shot" goal, which laid out a plan to regain thecountry’s lead in the space race and land a man on the moon.
Photo credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/Roy Kaltschmidt