Archive for April 15th, 2011

15 April

Incentive For Solar (1)


Hi,  dear readers and friends,

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at Thank you.

Remember I’ve previously mentioned the importance of bringing down the cost of solar technology and increasing incentives from the government to stimulate solar energy use.  Incentives are crucial in speeding up the process of conversion to the renewable energy era!  So, my feelings had been rather mixed in recent months as a result of finding out more about SunShot Initiative.

Our current administration, President Obama, is keenly aware of the need to develop clean/renewable (specially solar) energy and wise enough to bring some one who is actually technologically savvy (and who is not simply in office to maintain the status quo) yet pragmatic enough to suggest painting our roofs white, the Nobel Laureate Steven Chu, on board to head the Department of Energy (DOE), at this critical juncture in history.   Much work needs to be done during this time of transition into the clean and renewable energy era and we need to see a lot of actions!  Building on the legacy of President Kennedy’s 1960s “moon shot” goal, which laid out a plan to regain the country’s lead in the space race and land a man on the moon, the SunShot Initiative will aggressively drive innovations in the ways that solar systems are conceived, designed, manufactured, and installed.  As spoken in President Kennedy’s September 12, 1962, speech, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”  So now, we are facing the hour of change and we choose solar energy, not because it is easy, but because it is the best route/energy for the future of planet earth.  In addition to investing in improvements in cell technologies and manufacturing, the SunShot initiative will also focus on steps to streamline and digitize local permitting processes that will reduce installation and permitting costs.  To achieve the SunShot goal of reducing the total installed cost of large scale solar electricity by about 75 percent (to roughly $1 per watt,  corresponding to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour) so that it will be cost competitive at large scale with other forms of energy without subsidies before the end of the decade (2020).  This would translate into rapid large-scale adoption of solar electricity across the United States, re-establish American technological leadership, improve the nation’s energy security, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness in the global clean energy race.  In this effort, DOE will be working closely with partners in government, industry, research laboratories and academic institutions across the country.

I was all pumped up until…. I  looked at the budget/money allotted for the SunShot Initiative. at

Comparing it to the MoonShot program would not be quite on target!  The MoonShot/Apollo program had a budget of close to $200 billion (totaled about $170 billion in 2005, according to Wikipeida) in today’s dollar, in a span of about 11 years.  That (Apollo Program) would translate into approximately $20 billion per year.  The SunShot Initiative, as far as I have seen any figure,  has totaled to less than $0.5 billion per year (federal loan guarantee cannot be included).   That means the ratio of amount of money that will be spent on SunShot Program to the amount of money spent on Apollo Program is less than 0.5/20  or less than 1/40  .  So the two programs/initiatives are not in the same magnitude or ball park, my friends.  Last I checked 1/40 is a far cry from 1/1.  The optimistic side of me reasoned:  perhaps this is just a beginning.  Historically, most of the budget of Department of Energy would spend far more on nuclear energy and essentially nothing for wind or solar or geothermal.  We are at least seeing a number that is greater than zero.  But the more anxious pessimistic side of me exclaimed: if we (citizens of USA) truly want to re-establish American technological leadership, we need to take giant leaps rather than baby-steps.  We cannot  sit idly by while cost of fossil fuels continue to rise, while having learned from the experience of Fukushima.  Our friends in Germany have already taken the more responsible and ethical approach/step in bearing much of the cost of early  research and development in solar energy.  In our land of democracy, if we truly want to see some actions, we need to gather the strength of our people, our friends online, our neighbors, our family, every where.  We need to let our government know that we want clean, safe, and least-war-driven energy.  While our President and Secretary of Department of Energy have to abide by the rules of politics, we need to help uncuff their hands and truly let them lead us into the renewable energy era.  We need to let our administration know that we are ready to take giant leaps, rather than baby-steps, toward solar energy.


In the next post, I will go into details of certain incentive programs that have been tried and tested in many other countries .  My friends and readers, this is an exciting time, I hope you are all getting ready to move toward the sun because there will be plenty of opportunities for all of us!

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


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