MoonShot SunShot: Will the US commit the long-term funds to achieve its goals?

An update from the DoE’s SunShot initiate continues to muddy the water between price and cost by assuming the two are synonymous. Much was said about the necessity of investing all along the value chain in order to develop a vibrant industry.

July 12, 2011 – An update from the DoE SunShot initiate continues to muddy the water between price and cost by assuming the two are synonymous. Much was said about the necessity of investing all along the value chain in order to develop a vibrant industry. The speaker, Ramamoorthy Ramesh, conceded that the US has been poor in this regard.

Beware the “Valley of Death”: the gap between when US manufacturers emerge from the incubator and before ramping operations, when funding becomes scarce and difficult. What is needed is a public private partnership to drive development forward. The speaker segued to balance of systems, ~40% of system costs, and from there to permuting costs and time. Permitting in the US may well be the true “valley of death” for solar.

Ramesh noted that investing in solar will lead to significant job growth in the US and noted that SunShot is key to achieving this goal.

Commentary: the aggressive goals of SunShot are laudable if only because there must be a goal, something to achieve that drives the vision. And, writing of visions, when will the solar vision study come out?

The final speaker of the opening session, Eicke Weber from Fraunhofer, spoke about self consumption tariffs as the future driver for DG PV. He also touched on the strong future of c-Si in terms of innovation and cost reduction.



Paula Mints is principal analyst, PV Services Program, and director in the energy practice at Navigant Consulting. E-mail: pmints@navigantconsulting.com.

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