Over the past four years, solar energy generation in the U.S. has more than doubled. At the same time, the cost of solar power continues to fall each year and American companies and workers are helping to lead the way with dramatic advances – from world record-breaking solar cell efficiency to streamlined rooftop permitting and installation to some of the largest utility-scale solar projects in the world.
In February 2011, Energy Secretary Steven Chu launched the SunShot Initiative – a cross-cutting, national endeavor to get solar cost-competitive with fossil fuels and without subsidies by the end of the decade. Just two years later, we’ve made remarkable progress in accelerating the development of low-cost solar power and building a thriving solar industry that can compete in the global market.
On Friday, Feb. 22, at 2pm ET, join us for a live discussion with Secretary Chu – which will be streamed on Google+, YouTube and energy.gov/live – on the SunShot Initiative and the role solar power is playing in our growing clean energy economy.
During the discussion, U.S. solar industry experts from across the country will share how this domestic renewable energy source is creating jobs, strengthening our nation’s manufacturing capabilities and providing Americans with affordable, clean energy.
We will be taking your questions in advance and during the Hangout. Submit your questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, posting comments on the Energy Department’s Facebook page or Google+ event, or tweeting @ENERGY using #askEnergy.
In addition to Secretary Chu, we’ll be joined by panelists from across the U.S. solar energy industry, including:
Jeffery Halsey -- Broward County, Florida’s Director of Pollution Prevention, Remediation and Air Quality division
Jeffrey Halsey will share how his community’s participation in the SunShot Initiative’s Rooftop Solar Challenge is helping homeowners save time and money on solar installations. Through the Challenge, towns and cities like Broward are addressing the soft costs of solar – including permitting, interconnection and inspection requirements that can account for as much as 40 percent of the total cost of a single solar installation. Thanks to efforts by the Broward team, Broward County residents are now able to get a solar energy system permit, with preapproved design plans, online in just half an hour – reducing costs to homeowners and saving time.
Jeff Allen -- Solar Junction’s Vice President of Business Development
Jeff Allen, with Solar Junction, will provide insight on how this California start-up shattered an existing technical barrier with its commercial-ready SJ3 multijunction solar cell this year. The concentrating photovoltaic cell – which uses a focused lens to magnify light to 418 times the intensity of the sun – set a new world record of 43.5 percent for solar cell conversion efficiency.
Joe Desmond -- Senior Vice President at BrightSource Energy
Joe Desmond, with BrightSource, will discuss the Ivanpah Solar Generating Complex. Located in California’s Mojave Desert, this utility-scale solar installation is the world’s largest solar thermal power plant under construction. With the support of an Energy Department loan guarantee, this project using mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers and is expected to generate enough clean electricity to power approximately 140,000 homes annually. BrightSource has hired over 2,300 workers to complete Ivanpah’s construction and installation phases. Additionally, the majority of the project’s supply chain is sourced from more than 17 states, such as Michigan-based Guardian Industries which supplied 160,000 of its EcoGuard Solar Boost mirrors.
We look forward to you joining the conversation on Friday!