Affordable Solar

In 1961, President Kennedy issued a “Moon Shot” pledge: to put a man
on the moon, despite the public opinion that it was impossible. He

In that same spirit, the Department of Energy is launching a program
known as SunShot – a monumental effort to make solar as affordable as
coal. The biggest hurtle to realizing alternative energy has been the
price, and the DoE has a goal: to get solar down to $1/watt in the
next six years.

Today, it’s not unusual for solar to hit $10 per watt, and if you’re
lucky enough to find a company that has $1/watt rates, installation
will double the cost.

The DoE is using innovative science to accomplish its goal, such as
flexible solar panels, “black” silicon, and “1366 Technology’s effort
to grow pure silicon wafers directly rather than hewing them from long
ingots of the material” or “build[ing] thin-film solar cells from
semiconducting materials that are neither toxic nor rare”, according
to an article in Scientific American.

The director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, Arun
Majumdar, summed up the plan in a summit address: “The future is still
up for grabs. How do we win the future? Invent affordable clean
technology. Make them locally, sell them globally.”

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