Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Department of Energy seeks to cut solar costs by 75 percent

Department of Energy seeks to cut solar costs by 75 percent
NEW YORK | Fri Feb 4, 2011 2:37pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Energy said on Friday it will spend $27 million on a new effort to reduce the costs of solar power by 75 percent by the end of the decade in a bid to make the renewable power source as cheap as fossil fuels.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu dubbed the program a "sun shot" that was patterned on President John F. Kennedy's "moon shot" goal in the 1960s that called for the United States to land a man on the moon.
Chu said cutting the cost of installed solar power by 75 percent would put the price at about $1 per watt, he said, or about 6 cents per kilowatt hour.
"That would make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of energy without subsidies of any kind," he told a conference call.
Costs for to install photovoltaic solar panels, which turn sunlight directly into electricity, currently run above 22 cents per kilowatt per hour, although federal grants and state incentives can trim that to below 15 cents for large projects.
Many U.S. solar industry advocates have long complained that the Chinese government's support of its solar companies has enabled its companies to take market share from U.S. manufacturers.
Chinese companies such as Suntech Power Holdings Co have made inroads into both European and U.S. markets, and now supply about two-thirds of the global market. Suntech said on Thursday it had sold 250 megawatts of panels in North America last year, about 25 percent of the total market.

For Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/04/us-energy-chu-solar-idUSTRE7135PY20110204

Anumakonda Jagadeesh comments:

Exciting news indeed. Enthusiasts of Solar Energy welcome this as the major hurdle for widespread use of Solar PV is its exorbitant cost compared to conventional fuel like coal. Another reason is the relatively low efficiency of present solar cells. With improved materials like Gallium Arsenide, Tandem, organic polymer it is expected the PV will be competitive with other energy sources and more so of other renewables like wind, mini and micro hydel, biomass etc.

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