Solar news: SunShot Initiative sets new goals and funding, Salt Lake City doubles solar capacity, and another exciting development for solar window technology

The winning photo from the U.S. Department of Energy Sunshot Initiative’s recent photo contest.

The Department of Energy expands the SunShot Initiative, Salt Lake City announces a doubling of their municipal solar capacity, and progress on solar window technology in this week’s Solar News Roundup.

Department of Energy expands SunShot program

The SunShot Initiative, a Department of Energy program aimed at lowering solar prices for utility, commercial, and residential solar has reached its 2020 utility-scale cost goal three years early. The program aimed to lower utility-scale solar costs to $0.06/kilowatt-hour (kWh), translating to under $1 per watt by 2020, and has achieved that goal in 2017. In light of their success, the Department of Energy has announced new goals and funding through the SunShot Initiative. The new utility-scale target price is $0.03/kWh by 2030, accompanied by new cost goals for commercial solar ($0.04/kWh) and residential solar ($0.05/kWh) within the same timeframe. For reference, the current price for commercial solar is around $0.11/kWh, and residential solar sits at about $0.16/kWh. Funding for research in concentrating solar power has been announced at $62 million, with an additional $20 million for “early-stage power electronic projects”. The Department of Energy has shown an interest in grid stabilization and reliability, and the new funding available for solar projects will likely contribute to shoring up the grid.

Salt Lake City doubles municipal solar buildings

This week, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced that the city has doubled the number of municipal buildings with installed solar panels. With a total of 756 panels installed at city facilities, the city expects electricity equivalent to burning 8 million pounds of coal to be produced over the 25-year warrantied lifespan of their panels. Biskupski alluded to the city’s goal of 100% renewable energy in an interview about the achievement. Currently, Salt Lake City expects to meet about 12 percent of their municipal energy needs through both their solar panel installations and their enrollment in Rocky Mountain Power’s solar program.

Solar windows inch towards reality

A recent development by SolarWindow Technologies could lead to usable solar window technology in the near future. SolarWindow has developed a special coating for glass windows which converts energy from the sun directly into electricity, which the company says could reduce the electricity needs of large buildings by up to 50 percent. SolarWindow has a deal with the glass fabricator Triview Glass Industries to make their solar windows at a large scale, potentially bringing solar windows into a reasonable price range for consumers. “Now, our goals are to turn those inventions into fabricated commercial products and bring those products to market in order to turn entire buildings into vertical power generators,” says the President and CEO of SolarWindow Technologies, John Conklin.
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About Jacob Marsh

Jacob is a researcher and content writer at EnergySage, where he's an expert on current issues–and new technology!–in the solar industry. With a background in environmental and geological science, Jacob brings an analytical perspective and passion for conservation to help solar shoppers make the right energy choices for their wallet and the environment. Outside of EnergySage, you can find him playing Ultimate Frisbee or learning a new, obscure board game.

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