SunShot plans to reduce solar energy costs even further

By Jodi Delapaz

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2016 - The cost of solar-generated electricity can be decreased by 50 percent between 2020 and 2030, the Department of Energy says.

Recent modeling from DOE suggests that achieving the 2030 targets could more than double the projected amount of nationwide electricity demand that could be met by solar in 2030 and beyond.

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In 2011, DOE launched the SunShot Initiative - with the goal of making solar electricity cost-competitive with traditional energy sources without subsidies by 2020.

DOE says that through the initiative's leadership, the solar industry has already reached more than 90 percent of its established 2020 goal.

“Both SunShot and the solar industry have made major strides to reduce costs for innovative technologies which resulted in dramatic market growth and the creation of hundreds of thousands of American jobs," says Acting Assistant Energy Secretary David Friedman. "These new goals and funding will further push down costs, save American consumers and businesses money, and create even more jobs.”

Utility-scale solar electricity costs now average 7 cents per kilowatt-hour, just short of SunShot's established 2020 goal of reducing the cost of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The new SunShot 2030 targets are 3 cents per kilowatt-hour for utility-scale PV, 4 cents per kilowatt-hour for commercial PV, and 5 cents per kilowatt-hour for residential PV.

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These targets are for areas with average U.S. climate and without subsidies. In the sunnier regions of the country, achieving the SunShot 2030 targets would mean costs of 2 cents per kilowatt-hour for utility-scale solar.

Some $65 million was recently announced for funding opportunities that will further drive down the cost of solar energy and accelerate widespread deployment, DOE says. For information on the new funding opportunities, click here.

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