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The SunShot Initiative’s Solar Blog features the latest stories about the work of the solar energy technologies office within the Department of Energy. Learn more about us.

November 21, 2016
Making solar energy system information public helps solar companies and customers alike.
Sharing the Wealth: Providing Access to More Solar Data

For the first time ever, the latest edition of the Tracking the Sun report is publicly sharing the data used in the report analysis, which is a win-win for both solar companies and solar customers.

November 18, 2016
Solar Blog
New Analysis Shows National Potential for Solar Power in Low-Income Communities

Solar power is now more affordable in the United States than at any other point in history, and new analysis shows it has the potential to gain popularity in low- and moderate-income communities across the country.

October 21, 2016
SunShot's social sciences research is helping to explore the forces behind solar adoption in the United States. | Photo courtesy of National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Insights into Consumer Preferences Mirrored in Powerful Solar Software Platforms

The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative is taking new steps to reduce solar energy costs. Social sciences research is helping to explore the forces behind solar adoption in the United States.

October 19, 2016
Aerial view of Enel Green Power North America’s Stillwater plant in Fallon, Nevada, the first triple hybrid renewable energy plant. | All photos courtesy of Enel Green Power North America, Inc.
This Hybrid Power Plant Combines 3 Clean Energy Sources in One

Engineers at Idaho National Lab and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory helped build the world’s first triple hybrid renewable energy plant. It combines geothermal power, solar panels and concentrating solar power into one reliable energy source.

October 7, 2016
Making Our Solar Future with American Manufacturing

Every second that ticks by, six solar cells come off U.S. manufacturing lines that contain crystalline silicon. In 10 years, the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative expects nearly three-times that amount to be racing across the lines, helping to make America a leader in high-tech solar manufacturing.

October 4, 2016
Construction workers build the frame for a 1-megawatt solar microgrid project at Fort Hunter Liggett, California. | <em>Photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Carlos J. Lazo</em>
Revolution...Now Rewind: Modernizing the Grid to Accelerate a Solar-Powered Future

As the recently released Revolution..Now report details, the declining cost of solar power has enabled a massive increase in the amount of solar capacity installed in America. The next step is ensuring the nation's electric grid is ready for a solar-powered future.

September 28, 2016
6 Charts that Will Make You Optimistic About America’s Clean Energy Future

How wind, solar, LEDs and electric vehicles are leading the way in America's clean energy revolution, visualized in six simple charts.

September 16, 2016
Solar Blog
Getting the Most out of Solar Panels

Our SunShot Initiative is funding important research into how to get more power out of solar panels by improving their durability, efficiency and performance in real-world conditions.

September 14, 2016
A 250-megawatt solar project on the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians’ Moapa River Reservation in Nevada. This project was one of the first utility-scale solar project on tribal land.
Dropping Pins: SunShot Incubator Software Startups Put Solar on the Map

The software space is a growing market for small startups to thrive in the solar industry. These companies help to address crucial information gaps for data that solar project developers need to find a suitable location and for utilities to run interconnection studies.

September 13, 2016
Solar homes on the Helemano Military Reservation in Hawaii generate electricity that the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) integrates onto the island’s electric grid. | <em> Photo courtesy of HECO </em>
Collaboration Station: Utility and Solar Company Partnerships Further Solar’s Reach

Earlier this year, the solar industry passed a key milestone: 1 million solar installations are connected to the nation’s electricity grid. Now, we’re looking forward to 2 million solar installations—a record that is expected to be reached in 2018. This large influx of solar, which is by nature an intermittent energy source, creates unique challenges for our country’s more than 3,000 electric utility companies.

September 12, 2016
Charlie Gay Joins the SunShot Initiative to Leave a Lasting Impact

The SunShot Initiative welcomes Dr. Charlie Gay, the program’s new director, a solar industry pioneer who has witnessed its rise from a niche technology that powered microwave repeaters on isolated mountaintops to the robust business it is today.

August 29, 2016
National Lab Research: Leading the Way to a Future Powered by Solar

Over the past 50 years, the Energy Department's national laboratories have played a major role in the advancement of solar energy technology. That’s why SunShot created the SunShot National Laboratory Multiyear Partnership funding program, which awards funding to national labs to continue addressing the most critical barriers that remain to achieving our SunShot goals.

August 4, 2016
Giant Leap Technologies uses microfluidics to bend light toward a solar at the top of the plant. Each solar thermal power plant shown is a football field in size.  |  <em>Photo courtesy of Giant Leap Technologies</em>
Cutting-Edge Science Drives SunShot Projects

The Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative funds cutting-edge science that helps dramatically reduce the cost of solar energy. Drawn from diverse inspiration in the optical and medical fields, and featuring one with new uses for sound waves, these newly announced SunShot research and development projects may hold the key to low-cost solar energy.

July 28, 2016
Paying For Solar – Tips For Financing a Residential System

After you’ve made the decision to go solar, the next step is figuring out how to pay for it. Assuming you don’t have the cash to buy your solar energy system upfront, like the vast majority of Americans, there are a variety of financing options to help you hitch onto the solar bandwagon and start increasing the value of your home.

July 27, 2016
Solar homes are being sold across the country, but they can be hard to find and compare. Teams from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Elevate Energy are working to ensure that solar is properly represented in multiple listing services. | Photos courtesy of Solar Design Associates, Namaste Solar Electric, and Decker Homes
Shopping for a Solar Home Made Easy — SunShot and the Future of Solar Home-Buying

Solar homes are being sold across the country, but they can be hard to find and compare. Teams from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Elevate Energy are working to ensure that solar is properly represented in multiple listing services, the searchable databases used by real estate professionals and house hunters.

July 26, 2016
There are a lot of misconceptions about residential solar. | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
5 Common Myths About Residential Solar

The amount of solar connected to the grid has grown exponentially in the past several years, and with all of this interest and so much information available, let’s take a moment to separate fact from fiction. The SunShot Initiative has debunked the top 5 myths about residential solar.

July 25, 2016
Solar Blog
SunShot Programs Bring Solar Energy Basics to Real Estate Pros

Recent research shows that adding solar to your home — much like renovating the kitchen or finishing the basement — can boost your home's value and resulting home sale price.

June 28, 2016
The Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment program, also known as GEARED, is a training and education framework that prepares current and future utility-sector professionals to operate the electric grid with increasingly higher levels of solar electricity.
Preparing Students for Our Nation’s Changing Energy Portfolio

The utility sector is going through a rapid transformation as more renewables come online and more Americans choose to go solar. Adding large quantities of distributed energy onto the grid requires the workforce to acquire new knowledge and skills, which SunShot is enabling through its GEARED program.

June 16, 2016
This array on the roof of Eastern Mennonite University’s library sets the stage for the school to add even more solar through Solar Market Pathways.
Sun-Powered Schools: Helping Universities Go Solar

Dormitory mini fridges, dishwashers in dining halls, and campus computer labs are just a few of the things that can create large utility bills for colleges and universities across the country. The SunShot Initiative is working to make it easier for college campuses to use solar energy to help ease the financial burden of around-the-clock operation.

June 13, 2016
The Lifeworks installation by Austin Energy, a SHINES awardee. | Photo courtesy of Austin Energy
Meet Guohui Yuan: SunShot Welcomes Big-Picture Thinker to New Solar Role

The SunShot Initiative’s new systems integration program manager, Dr. Guohui Yuan, maintains a steadfast commitment to add more solar energy onto the nation’s electrical grid while always striving to achieve the office’s broader goals. “Because of my physics background I always look at problems at the system level — not just the issue, but the big picture,” he says.

June 6, 2016
Installing a concentrating solar power system in Gila Bend, Arizona. The curved  mirrors are tilted toward the sun, focusing sunlight on tubes that run the length of the mirrors. The reflected sunlight heats a fluid flowing through the tubes. The hot fluid then is used to boil water in a conventional steam-turbine generator to produce electricity. | Photo by Dennis Schroeder.
Top 6 Things You Didn't Know About Solar Energy

Counting down our list of top things you didn't know about solar energy -- read on for more on the most abundant energy resource known to mankind.

May 31, 2016
Solar Blog
ENERGISE-ing Solutions to Scale Up Distributed Solar

If a utility pole falls in a forest and no energy company employee is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Currently, the answer is no. The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative is trying to fix this problem to alleviate issues for both utilities and their customers.

May 18, 2016
Solar Blog
Halfway There But Far From Done: SunShot Surges Ahead on Path to Affordable Solar Energy

Halfway through the Energy Department’s decade-long SunShot Initiative, today we released a series of reports showing how the solar industry has progressed in the past five years, while looking forward to the challenges and opportunities it now faces. The On the Path to SunShot study series, developed with our national labs, examines the state of the solar industry, which has grown significantly in the last five years and is 70% of the way toward our goal to make solar fully cost-competitive with traditional forms of energy without incentives.

May 3, 2016
With 1 Million Solar Projects Across America, SunShot Shines On

The solar industry recently passed a major milestone when the 1 millionth solar system was installed at a home or business in the United States. Find out what the SunShot Initiative has in store for the future of solar as it continues to spur job growth, economic activity, tax revenue and clean air to all Americans.

April 7, 2016
Solar Blog
Shining Sunlight on SunShot’s Project Portfolio

A new interactive project map gives the public a birds-eye view of more than 200 active projects in EERE's SunShot Initiative. Working to make solar energy cost competitive, SunShot is showing where the projects are, what they're setting out to discover, and more.