It’s no secret that our fossil fuels are depleting at an alarming rate. Consequently, the need to effectively convert to renewable energy sources is rising exponentially. Solar energy is, without a doubt, one of the most abundant types of renewable energy.
The SunShot Initiative was launched in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It is a part of the department of energy solar programs to make solar energy more affordable for American families and businesses, at par with traditional energy sources before the decade ends.
Before we take a deep dive into the SunShot solar scheme, you may wonder why you should go solar at all when everything around your workspace or house seems fine.
Aside from the obvious environmental impact, such as reducing carbon footprint, there are various other advantages as well.
Why Go Solar?
1. Reduced Electricity Bills
Electricity costs surely account for a huge chunk of your monthly expenses. A solar-powered system can generate free power for its entire lifetime. In some cases, it may even eliminate your electric bill.
2. A Great ROI
Whenever a business contemplates any considerable financial investment, it is imperative to ensure a large return with a short payback period. With a payback period of three to eight years, depending on the size and financial solution utilized for the system, an average owner sees a return of investment of 20 percent or more.
3. Environmental Leadership
With the increasing demand for renewable energy, many customers, tenants, and prospective employees weigh a property owner’s or company’s environmental policy in their decision criteria. By going solar, you demonstrate a much-needed commitment to sustainability, contributing to cutting carbon pollution.
4. Tax Advantages
Federal and state governments bestow tax advantages to proper owners to utilize solar energy solutions for compounding on the savings from reduced energy costs. If you own a property and have the right tax situation, you can reduce system costs by 50% with federal Income Tax Credit.
5. Limited Maintenance
A solar array doesn’t need any day-to-day maintenance but does require occasional cleaning for maximum productivity. An experienced solar energy provider, like us, can assist in the maintenance so your solar PV system can operate at full efficiency.
Introduction to The SunShot Initiative
The SunShot scheme is a way to re-establish American technological leadership and empower U.S. economic competitiveness in the world-wide clean energy race. Additionally, the initiative is a distinct effort to reduce, if not eliminate, carbon pollution to halt climate change, hence, securing our future. DOE wholly supports the efforts of private companies, universities, and national laboratories to bring down the solar electricity cost to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour, via SunShot.
The Department of Energy SunShot initiative has given rise to innovative projects that transform the design, manufacturing, and installation of solar systems in order to reduce prices. From an efficient solar cell thinner than strands of human hair to a creative tool capable of performing solar site assessments from space, SunShot funds more than 250 groundbreaking projects.
To reinforce DOE’s work for making solar completely cost-competitive, the SunShot initiative is going to enable solar power to account for a minimum of 15% of America’s generation of electricity by 2030.
SunShot is created upon continual collaboration between the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, or EERE, and solar industry leaders. The period between 1975 and 2008 saw more solar energy patents linked to EERE than any other organization across the world.
SunShot is constantly advancing research and development, and adopting new strategies to lower the cost of a solar electric system. In order to effectively track the progress towards the key aim of the initiative, the SunShot goals include:
- Expand photovoltaic (PV) solar cell efficiency, decrease production costs, and introduce new markets for solar energy.
- Reduce the amount of time for transitioning from the development of new solar technologies to commercialization. Furthermore, strengthening the US supply chain for the manufacture and commercializing trailblazing PV technologies.
- Reduce the cost of concentrating solar power (CSP), fostering collaboration leading up to utility-scale solutions and integrating solar into the electric grid.
- Invest in the education, policy analysis as well as technical assistance required to eliminate critical barriers and accelerate rapid solar deployment.
- Establish a well-trained workforce to foster US job generation in the solar industry.
- Initiate innovative, cost-effective solutions that allow more seamless integration of solar with the national power grid.
- Speed up the adoption of solar energy technologies in the marketplace by decreasing non-hardware costs, eradicating bureaucratic barriers, and fostering market growth.
Advances in solar technology, propelled by SunShot and DOE, have catalyzed significant growth in the solar industry, drastically bringing down costs throughout the market place.
The solar industry employs around 120,000 Americans at 5600+ companies. Most of these businesses are small and are widely scattered across the country. 13,872 new solar jobs were reportedly created in 2012, according to The Solar Foundation. Additionally, the 20,000 new jobs created since 2010 have made solar one the fastest growing industries of America.
DOE invested around $2.3 billion to advance PV technology on R&D. The net economic benefits totaled a whopping $15+ billion.
Since the start of 2010, solar PV panels cost has dropped by 60% and solar electric system cost has dropped by 70%. With the price of solar panels decreasing, the US solar market is thriving.
From 2011 to 2012, the total installed solar capacity in the US grew by 76%. The amount of solar energy powering homes, businesses, and military bases has increased by 800%, since 2008.
Innovation and Technology Acceleration
The foundational knowledge yielded by DOE’s solar R&D work drives private-sector solar innovations, including around 275 patent families.
Reduced Carbon Emissions
US PV systems displaced 13.9 million metric tons of carbon emissions between 2008 and 2012 which is equivalent to taking off 2.9 million cars from US roads for a year.
SunShot Initiative is the Future
The Energy Department announced that the utility-scale solar cost target of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour was successfully met on 12th September 2017, three years earlier than estimated. Now, for the upcoming decade, the SubShot goal is a utility-solar cost of $0.03 per kilowatt-hour.