U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Solar Energy Technologies Program

About the Program

The Solar Energy Technologies Program focuses on concentrating solar power as one of its primary R&D areas.

The Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP or Solar Program) works to develop cost-competitive solar energy systems for America. More than $170 million is spent each year in research and development (R&D) on two solar electric technologies with the greatest potential to reach cost competitiveness by 2015: photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP). The greatest R&D challenges are reducing costs, improving system performance, and finding new ways to generate and store energy captured from the sun.

The Solar Program also makes sure new technology is accepted in the marketplace. Program staff works to remove many non-technical market barriers, such as updating codes and standards that aren't applicable to new technologies, improving interconnection agreements among utilities and consumers, and analyzing utility value capacity credits for utilities. Such activities help consumers, businesses, and utilities to make more informed decisions when considering renewable energy, and they also facilitate the purchase of solar energy.

Key Activities
The Solar Program conducts its key activities through four subprograms:

Systems Integration
Market Transformation.

The Moscone Convention Center in downtown San Francisco has 30,000 square feet of PV panels on its roof. This is the first project resulting from two voter initiatives to finance renewable energy in the city's commercial, residential, and government-owned buildings.

Benefits to the Nation
The Solar Program benefits the nation by improving our air quality, developing our economy, and increasing our energy security. Benefits include:

Increasing energy reliability and security by domestic production of a solar energy supply, which promotes economic growth
Adding 250,000 new jobs for America in the solar industry
Saving $100 billion per year for industry and businesses by averting power outages
Improving air quality, especially for children and the elderly, by using a clean, non-polluting fuel source
Reducing carbon emissions by 23 million metric tons per year by 2030.
The success of our work will make solar energy accessible to the average consumer because of reduced costs. We will also see utility-scale solar power plants and a booming U.S. solar industry that exports products around the world.

Our Partners
SETP works with industry, national laboratories, and universities to perform research and development and support program management. Our laboratory partners include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Brookhaven National Laboratory.

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For more information, read the following publications:
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