RAMAMOORTHY RAMESH: What will it take to achieve grid parity for solar power?
Interview by David Biello
RAMAMOORTHY RAMESH, director of U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative
We need to achieve the goals of SunShot, the new program from the U.S. Department of Energy to make solar power as cheap as that from burning fossil fuels, particularly coal. That means solar, whether photovoltaics or using the sun’s heat, has to cost roughly 5 cents per kilowatt-hour or, equivalently, $1 per watt at large scale, like a utility-sized power plant. This requires the photovoltaic module to cost roughly 50 cents per watt, the electronic control systems roughly 10 cents per watt and everything else, like installation, roughly 40 cents per watt. This will not be easy. The current price of electricity from the sun is approximately $3 per watt at the utility scale.
Utility-scale energy storage, intermittent energy on the grid, and innovation are key to ramping up renewables, says energy expert Peggy Liu. Read the interview with Peggy Liu
Does the rebound effect make the pursuit of energy efficiency futile? No, says economist Karen Turner. Read the interview with Karen Turner
Paul Jacobson, program manager for waterpower with the Electric Power Research Institute, says creativity and funds are critical to tapping the ocean’s energy. Read the interview with Paul Jacobson
Economist and author Jeremy Rifkin says the Internet can play a key role in mobilizing renewable energy. Read the interview with Jeremy Rifkin
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Last modified on January 23, 2012