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Dept of Energy posts videos pushing Solar Energy -- wasn't Trump Admin going to kill Solar?

; Date: May 11, 2017

Tags: Department of Energy »»»» Solar Power

Most of the Trump Administration appointees are people who seem tasked with killing the departments they're overseeing. The US Department of Energy is headed by Rick Perry, who in the 2012 race had promised to kill that department. We've been worried the DoE programs on solar energy and other clean energy technologies would vaporize, and we'll all fry in a few years because climate change will be running rampant. These are very real concerns, but it's useful to check whether the reality measures up to that fear. These video releases are perhaps a sign that the Dept of Energy will continue promoting solar power.

Simplifying the “Going-Solar” Process This describes a SunShot project, run by Energy Sage. It's a web portal that help people to go Solar. It helps consumers to find companies that will help you "go solar". The project is aimed at home owners who want to shop around.

The company has pre-screened a set of solar installers. They can remotely evaluate the requestor's home to more cheaply develop an initial site survey. That should decrease the cost of getting solar installed.

"When there's competition, the lower the cost"

Developing Cost-Effective Solar Manufacturing Another SunShot project discusses a manufacturing project led by 1366 Technologies. They're integrating multiple manufacturing steps for a leaner, cheaper, production process. The innovation is going from pure silicon directly to the wafer, to avoid wasting silicon during wafer production.

Using Storage to Improve Grid Resiliency Expanding solar power's usefulness requires "Energy Storage" systems to time-shift the electricity from the time of generation to another time. The Austin Shines at Austin Energy is a neighborhood-level system with 4 MegaWatts of Batteries, and 4 MegaWatts of Solar.

Lowering the Costs of Concentrating Solar Power Concentrating Solar uses mirrors to use sunlight to heat a fluid, that can be stored. The heat can then be tapped at another time to produce electricity. This project at Sandia National Labs is working on a new heat transfer and storage material, derived from ceramic particles used in the hydraulic fracturing industry. The particles are dropped through a beam of concentrated solar light for efficient heating.

National Labs Improving Photovoltaic Technology The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has colocated equipment for manufacturing materials and systems, and testing those materials, in order to speed up research. One area of research is solar panels that can operate at lower temperature. Another is dealing with the "soiling" problem, mitigating the problem of dust on solar panels. Overall the goal is reducing the cost of solar power.

Speeding Up the Going Solar Process "Soft costs" are the varying costs of getting solar on the Grid, that are on top of the cost of the equipment. This project worked with Pacific Gas and Electric, Northern California's electricity utility, to create standardized inter-connection processes to lower the cost of getting solar installed.

The Solar Energy Path to 2030 Summary of the other videos in this series.

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.
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