US Department of Energy commissions MIT research on declining cost of solar

The US Department of Energy has commissioned the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research to understand why the cost of solar has decreased so dramatically in the past decades and how this trend can continue in the future.

The MIT will analyse material and mechanical features of PV devices, as well as public policies and private sector efforts that have determined the price decline. The project will help the government, academic and business sectors develop investment and policy strategies to bring costs further down.

The research is supported by a grant of nearly USD 1.3 million awarded though the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, a programme which is funding 17 projects with a total of USD 21.4 million. Its aim is to promote innovation and drive the cost of solar down to USD 0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by 2020, making this technology fully competitive with other energy sources. Although PV cell prices have decreased significantly in the past decades, the US still has some of the highest costs for installed PV among developed countries (some USD 3.5-4 per Watt in 2015).

Read the full article on Sun & Wind Energy.

Photo: Solar thermal fashion by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA, via Wikimedia Commons.