Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, yesterday visited the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado.
Joe Armstrong, Ascent Solar’s chief technical officer, demonstrated his company’s CIGS thin-film modules to the Secretary-General. According to the Denver Post, the flexible modules, developed in conjunction with the NREL and US defense agencies, are intended to be supplied to areas of the developing world. During daylight hours the panels will generate energy, store it in batteries and can then be stored safely away at night.
Ban spent an hour touring the facility, where he met contributors to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN), including NREL’s director Dan Arvizu and NREL fellow Helena Chum. The tour is an initial step towards a partnership between the UN and NREL, expected to be set up later this year.
Speaking to NREL researches about the UN’s target of ensuring universal access to electricity, with 30% of the world’s energy sourced from renewables, Ban said: “Sustainable energy is cutting across nearly every major challenge humanity faces. Try to think big and bold. The United Nations will fully support your work.”