US solar power initiative reaches cost goal three years early

A solar power initiative in the US has achieved its goal for cost competitiveness three years early, according to a report by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The report revealed that installation costs for utility-scale projects have reached record lows, and decreased by about 30% when compared with the first quarter of 2016 alone.

The SunShot initiative, enacted by former President Barack Obama in 2011, reached its 2020 cost reduction goal early thanks to higher efficiencies, lower labour costs and a decline in the price for photovoltaic components.

For commercial-scale and residential units, the department said the solar power industry is more than 85% of the way towards achieving its 2020 goal.

“With the impressive decline in solar prices, it is time to address additional emerging challenges,” said Daniel Simmons, acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

“As we look to the future, DOE will focus new solar research and development on the secretary’s priorities, which include strengthening the reliability and resilience of the electric grid while integrating solar energy.”