Solar power is getting a major boost, thanks to a large investment by the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE has already funded $39 million in solar power projects thus far in 2016, but their commitment to finding new renewable energy solutions doesn’t end there.
Recently, the DOE unveiled another $30 million investment for a new consortium to speed up the development of low-cost, photovoltaic energy.
This exciting project is a part of the DOE’s revolutionary SunShot Initiative, and will form the Durable Module Materials (DuraMat) National Lab Consortium. The project brings together the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory operated by Stanford University.
The DuraMat program will focus on new, more cost-effective solar module technologies. Lowering the price of solar energy is the overarching goal, but the consortium hopes to discover and develop new designs and materials for photovoltaic modules.
The DuraMat team plans to create an integrated data hub of photovoltaic material durability studies, using analytics to identify and perfect solutions for reliability issues. Modeling and simulation tools, prototyping, module field testing and materials forensics will all be employed as part of the consortium’s solar power research strategy.
DuraMat creates synergy by bringing together these prestigious university organizations and the advanced technology of their labs. This collaboration is expected to facilitate module research and development at unprecedented levels. In fact, the consortium expects that their work will double the rate at which solar manufacturing companies are able to implement new technologies in their photovoltaic modules.
The design, testing and production of advanced photovoltaic technologies has long been a challenge for solar manufacturers. DuraMat will make it easier for companies to access scientific research, industry expertise and other advanced resources. As a result, new photovoltaic materials will be able to enter the market more quickly, providing U.S. companies a competitive edge in the renewable energy industry.
As always, an exciting collaboration and the potential for revolutionary technological development brings to mind the usual, pressing questions: Would it be worthwhile to hold off on switching to photovoltaic energy or installing solar power at your home or business?
Certainly, if you wait, you may eventually be able to purchase a more efficient system, or one that has a lower initial investment cost. But delaying the adoption of solar energy doesn’t make much sense if you look at the bigger picture. Any new technologies that are developed won’t be available to consumers for years, based on the research and development cycle. Also, the discovery of a “better mousetrap” may come only after years of research.
Even more pressing, many of the current financial incentives for adopting solar power are disappearing. State and local rebates and grants are becoming scarcer, and the federal solar tax credit won’t be around forever, either. After 2019, the amount you can claim steps down, and the credit is scheduled to be eliminated in 2022.
So if you put off investing in today’s already-effective photovoltaic power technologies, you could pay thousands more for your system. Plus, you’ll continue paying those outrageous monthly electric bills. Intermountain Wind & Solar is committed to helping residential and commercial customers in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming invest in cost-effective alternative energy solutions. Contact us today for a free solar power consultation.
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