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Berkeley Lab Study Finds that Future Deployment of Distributed Solar Hinges on Electricity Rate Design

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Future distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment levels are highly sensitive to retail electricity rate design, according to a newly released report by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The study also explores the feedback effects between retail electricity rates and PV deployment, and suggests that increased solar deployment can lead to changes in PV compensation levels that either accelerate or dampen further deployment.

Counting All Costs, Berkeley Lab Researchers Find that Saving Energy Is Still Cheap

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Researchers at Berkeley Lab have conducted the most comprehensive study yet of the full cost of saving electricity by U.S. utility efficiency programs and now have an answer: 4.6 cents. That’s the average total cost of saving a kilowatt-hour in 20 states from 2009 to 2013, according to a new Berkeley Lab report. To arrive at that average, researchers collected and analyzed several hundred regulatory documents filed in each state by utilities and other administrators of efficiency programs that are funded by utility customers.

From the Lab to Your Digital Device, Quantum Dots Have Made Quantum Leaps

The TV on the right using Nanosys’ quantum dot technology shows a 50% wider range of colors than the standard white LED set on the right. (Courtesy Nanosys)

Berkeley Lab’s quantum dots have not only found their way into tablets, computer screens, and TVs, they are also used in biological and medical imaging tools, and now Paul Alivisatos’ lab is exploring them for solar cell as well as brain imaging applications.

Local Market Conditions and Policies Strongly Influence Solar PV Pricing

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Differences in local market conditions and policies, and other factors, particularly the size of the system, can lead to wide disparities in what consumers across the United States pay to install solar energy systems on their homes or small businesses. This translates into thousands of dollars difference in the price of comparable solar energy systems around the U.S.

DOE Secretary Helps Usher in New Era of Energy Research at Berkeley Lab

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Inaugurated today with help from U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Berkeley Lab’s new General Purpose Laboratory will be devoted to flagship centers in materials sciences and energy storage research, as well as to key biosciences programs. Among the building’s new tenants will be the Berkeley Lab site of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, or JCESR, a multi-lab program aimed at achieving revolutionary advances in battery performance.

Berkeley Lab Report Quantifies the Financial Impacts of Customer-Sited Photovoltaics on Electric Utilities

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A new report prepared by analysts from Berkeley Lab examines the potential impacts of customer-sited solar photovoltaics (PV) on electric utility profitability and rates. The report shows that these impacts can vary greatly depending upon the specific circumstances of the utility and may be reduced through a variety of regulatory and ratemaking measures.

Interactive Map Reveals Rooftop Reflectance for Five California Cities

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Berkeley Lab scientists use aerial imagery to create an interactive map that displays the solar reflectance (also known as albedo) of individual roofs in Bakersfield, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose.

New Studies Find Significant Declines in Price of Rooftop and Utility-Scale Solar

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The price of solar energy in the U.S. continues to fall substantially, according to the latest editions of two annual reports produced by Berkeley Lab. A third Berkeley Lab report, written in collaboration with researchers at Yale University, the University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), shows that local permitting and other regulatory procedures can significantly impact residential photovoltaic (PV) prices.

Cool Roofs in China Can Save Energy and Reduce Emissions

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Working with Chinese researchers, Berkeley Lab has conducted the first comprehensive study of cool roofs in China and concluded that they would be effective in substantially reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in climate zones with hot summers.

Department of Energy’s FLEXLAB Opens Testbeds to Drive Dramatic Increase in Building Efficiency

From left to right, Carla Boragno, Senior VP, Site Services, Genentech; Laurie Giamomona, VP, Customer Service, PG&E; Andrew McAllister, Commissioner, California Energy Commission; Paul Alivisatos, Director, Berkeley Lab; Jes Pedersen, CEO, Webcor Builders (behind Alivisatos); Daniel Poneman, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy (cutting ribbon); Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; Nancy Skinner, Assemblywoman for California's 15th District; Aundra Richards, Site Manager, DOE Berkeley Site Office; Steven Chalk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy; Ashok Gadgil, Director, Environmental Energy Technologies Division.

The world’s most advanced energy efficiency test bed for buildings is open for business, launched today by U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman. FLEXLAB is already signing up companies determined to reduce their energy use by testing and deploying the most energy efficient technologies as integrated systems under real-world conditions. The facility includes a rotating test bed to track and test sun exposure impacts, and other high-tech features.