The Department of Energy has upped the ante on its solar power cost reduction goals, aiming to cut the cost of solar-generated electricity by 50% between 2020 and 2030 as part of its SunShot Initiative.
Sunshot now aims to reduce the average cost of utility-scale PV to $0.03/kWh, commercial PV to $0.04/kWh and residential PV to $0.05/kWh by 2030. In areas with above-average solar potential, targeted prices are even lower.
- The DOE says the SunShot program, started in 2011, is at 90% of its original goal of reducing solar costs to $0.06/kWh by 2020.
Despite the fact that president-elect Donald Trump is not likely to favor solar power subsidies, the DOE has moved the goal posts for solar power, extending its solar cost reduction targets by 10 years.
The new targets are for areas with average U.S. climate and do not include subsidies. In the sunnier regions, the DOE says achieving the SunShot 2030 targets would mean costs of $0.02/kWh hour for utility-scale solar.
In making the announcement, the DOE said it was within 90% of its 2020 goal of $0/06/kWh with utility-scale PV now averaging $0.07/kWh.
The DOE announcement said that the program had surpassed 70% of its commercial and residential cost targets in just five years, “showing that the market is on track to achieve these goals by 2020.”
The DOE went on to say that “recent modeling suggests that achieving the 2030 new targets could more than double the projected amount of nationwide electricity demand that could be met by solar in 2030 and beyond.”
In support of its new goals, the DOE said it is accepting applications for three funding opportunities under the SunShot Initiative's PV Research and Development Program, Technology to Market Program, and Systems Integration Program.
The PV Research and Development Program is making up to $25 million available to improve PV module and system design. The Technology to Market Program has $30 million available for projects that accelerate the commercialization of products. And there is up to $10 million available under the Systems Integration Program for projects focused on improving solar irradiance and power forecasts used by utilities.
In its latest funding, the SunShot program announced awards of up to $107 million.