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Median Installed Price of Solar in the United States Fell by 5-12% in 2015

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Solar energy system pricing is at an all-time low, according to the latest editions of two recurring “state of the market” reports released today by Berkeley Lab. Preliminary data for the first six months of 2016 suggest that prices have continued to fall within most states and market segments.

Simplifying Solar Cells with a New Mix of Materials

A new mix of materials for a solar cell, developed by a Berkeley Lab-led team of researchers, shows promise for use in solar panels.

Scientists have simplified the steps to create highly efficient silicon solar cells by applying a new mix of materials to a standard design. The special blend of materials eliminates the need for a process known as doping that steers the device’s properties by introducing foreign atoms. Doping can also degrade performance.

How to Train Your Bacterium

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Berkeley Lab researchers are using the bacterium Moorella thermoacetica to perform photosynthesis and also to synthesize semiconductor nanoparticles in a hybrid artificial photosynthesis system for converting sunlight into valuable chemical products.

On the way to Multiband Solar Cells

Schematic of electron/hole transfer within intermediate band solar cell with GaNAs alloy as the light absorber.

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed an intermediate band solar cell that opens the door to high-efficiency solar cells and multicolor light emitters.

Price of Solar Energy in the United States Has Fallen to 5¢/kWh on Average

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Solar energy pricing is at an all-time low, according to a new report released by Berkeley Lab. Driven by lower installed costs, improved project performance, and a race to build projects ahead of a reduction in a key federal incentive, utility-scale solar project developers have been negotiating power sales agreements with utilities at prices averaging just 5¢/kWh.

Made from Solar Concentrate

Bathing the Earth with enough energy in one hour to meet human needs for an entire year, the sun represents the ultimate source of clean, green sustainable energy.

A team of scientists with Berkeley Lab and the University of Illinois created solar cells that collect higher energy photons at 30 times the concentration of conventional solar cells, the highest luminescent concentration factor ever recorded.

Soaking Up Carbon Dioxide and Turning it into Valuable Products

Structural model showing a covalent organic framework (COF)  embedded with a cobalt porphyrin.

Berkeley Lab researchers have incorporated molecules of porphyrin CO2 catalysts into the sponge-like crystals of covalent organic frameworks (COFs) to create a molecular system that not only absorbs CO2, but also selectively reduces it to CO, a primary building block for a wide range of chemical products.

Another Milestone in Hybrid Artificial Photosynthesis

Peidong Yang CJC Bioinorganic Solar to Chemical Text

Berkeley Lab researchers using a bioinorganic hybrid approach to artificial photosynthesis have combined semiconducting nanowires with select microbes to create a system that produces renewable molecular hydrogen and uses it to synthesize carbon dioxide into methane, the primary constituent of natural gas.

At the American Chemical Society Meeting in Boston: Berkeley Lab’s Paul Alivisatos and Noah Bronstein Discuss Nanoparticles and Solar Energy Applications

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At the ACS Meeting in Boston, Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos discussed quantum dots and next generation luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs).

U.S. Distributed Solar Prices Fell 10 to 20 Percent in 2014, with Trends Continuing into 2015

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The installed price of distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States continues to fall precipitously. This is according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost tracking report produced by Berkeley Lab.