Solar- Research and Development


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About 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

-How We Work

– SunShot Success Stories

-Why it matters

Concentrating Solar Power


Systems Integration

Soft Costs

Technology To Market

SunShot Solar Projects Map

interactive map

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Success Stories


The power of the sun’s radiant energy is what makes life on earth possible. Efforts to harness it in concentrated form and direct it to man’s ends have long been a human pursuit. The current state of technology generally uses two approaches: solar thermal collectors and the more complex design and manufacture of photovoltaic cells.

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Today, solar energy provides three-tenths of 1 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States.[1] While the amount of utility-scale solar electricity capacity in the US has increased in recent years—rising from 334.2 megawatts in 1997 to 6,220.3 megawatts in 2013 , it still only accounts for 0.2% of net utility-scale electricity generated in the United States – the least among the renewable sources.

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Efforts to expand solar capacity face several challenges. One of the most significant impediments to solar power, like wind power, involves the availability of its source. Solar radiation is rarely constant and varies with changing atmospheric conditions (clouds and dust), and the changing position of the Earth relative to the sun (day and night). Solar energy is also relatively weak because.



For the foreseeable future, solar energy is likely to make up a very small part of our overall energy mix because its costs and reliability place it at a disadvantage to other forms of electrical generation. However, it may gain favor in isolated applications for certain uses, and its use has been growing as government mandates compel consumers to use more renewable forms of energy without regard to cost.

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Photovoltaic Research


Photovoltaic (PV) research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) focuses on boosting solar cell conversion efficiencies, lowering the cost of solar cells, modules, and systems, and improving the reliability of PV components and systems. NREL’s PV effort…Learn more>>


Advanced Research & Development


Today’s energy world requires dynamic, innovative thinking and the flexibility to rapidly accommodate changing market demands. The solar photovoltaics (PV) industry has advanced significantly in recent years, yet the PV world of tomorrow has only been imagined….Learn more>>


Solar Research Links



-Solar Power Market Research & Consulting

-State Solar Programs & Policies

-International Solar Organizations

-Solar Installation Codes, Standards & Certification