US DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz highlights growth of solar market in exit memo

US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz discussed the gains made by the renewable-energy market in his exit memo. Image: Idaho National Laboratory / Flickr

In his final release before leaving office, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz discussed a number of topics related to the future of various energy sectors in his exit memo.

Moniz, who will leave office once the Obama Administration departs the White House, praised the growth of renewable-energy markets in the US over the last eight years — highlighting the advancements of PV power in particular.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

According to Moniz, the US had only installed 1.2GW of solar in 2008 — a number that has increased to 31GW of capacity in 2016. Back in 2008, there were no PV plants in the US with over 100MW in generation capacity, while there are now 50 projects within the US with generation outputs of 100MW or higher.

After launching the SunShot Initiative in 2011 with the goal of making solar electricity costs competitive with other energy outlets, the DOE reported that SunShot is already 90% of the way towards reaching its 2020 goal of reducing the PV levelised cost of energy (LCOE) to US6¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for utility-scale PV, US7¢/kWh for commercial rooftop PV, and US9¢/kWh for residential rooftop PV.

The DOE announced in November that the SunShot Initiative has announced a new set of goals to reach by 2030, including lowering the LCOE to US3¢/kWh for utility-scale solar, US4¢/kWh for commercial rooftop PV, and US5¢/kWh for residential rooftop PV.

Over one million rooftops in the US have now installed solar panels, due in part to a 54% reduction in overall costs since 2008.

Utility-scale solar has also made strides over the last eight years — as the cost of large-scale PV has dropped by 64% since 2008 and now produces enough energy to power over two million homes.

The positive growth of the solar market has also paved the way for thousands of new jobs, with the Solar Instructor Training Network training 1,087 instructors at 422 community colleges, 46 labor union centers, and several technical high schools. Branching off from that, these instructors have now trained more than 37,000 students to qualify for the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Entry Level Exam.

Read Next

April 26, 2024
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a report on laser welding, which could make solar panels easier to recycle.
April 18, 2024
The US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has called on the US Congress to accelerate legislative reform for solar projects in the US.
March 26, 2024
The US Department of Energy has invested up to US$22 million to improve planning, siting and permitting of large-scale renewable projects.
March 22, 2024
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will commit US$475 million in funding for five clean energy projects at mine sites across the US.
February 29, 2024
The projects cover different types of clean energy, including solar, battery energy storage systems (BESS) and microgrids.
February 15, 2024
The US has the potential to add nearly 1TW of community solar capacity if all technically viable community solar is deployed, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia