Biden administration plans to cut costs for solar energy production in 10 years

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A rooftop is covered with solar panels at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, in New York. ConEdison Solutions installed 3,152 solar panels on the roof of Building 293 in 2016. The new panels will generate 1.1 million kilowatt hours of energy per year, according to the mayor’s office. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided more than $600,000 in incentives for the project. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

WASHINGTON (KXAN) — In a monumental effort to tackle climate change, the Biden administration is setting a goal to slash the costs of producing solar energy in excess of 60%. This comes as President Joe Biden wants to decarbonize the U.S. electric grid by 2035.

To initiate this process, the Department of Energy is allotting $128 million into researching perovskite solar cells. While perovskite materials have been studied for over a century, they’re fairly new to the solar energy industry. These cells have grown in efficiency from around 4% in 2006 to a little more than 20% today. The reason why the Department of Energy wants to study these more is because they are cheap alternative to the costly silicon cells that dominate the current market.

According to an article from Reuters, “funds will also support research on cadmium telluride and concentrating solar technologies. Part of the funding will also seek to extend the lifetime of existing photovoltaic solar plants by improving components like inverters, cables and racks.”

“This first burst of funding will help us add even more affordable clean energy to the grid, jobs to communities across the country, and will put us on the fast track toward President Biden’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

In 2019, Forbes reported nearly every renewable energy cost had fallen to within the price range of fossil fuels.

This comes at a time when recent data from the Department of Energy shows increasing consumption of solar energy in the U.S. In 2015, solar energy consumption was 0.427 quadrillion Btu. Just three years later in 2018, the U.S. consumption of solar energy more than doubled to nearly 1 Btu of 0.917.

For reference, 1 quadrillion Btu (British Thermal Unit) is a measurement for large quantities of energy. 1 Btu is the equivalent to 45 million tons of coal, 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 170 million barrels of crude oil.

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