News and Feature Stories

The following news stories take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how NREL is advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.


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December 2021

Dec. 7, 2021

40 Semifinalists Chosen To Compete in American-Made Solar Prize Round 5

DOE selected 40 semifinalists from 16 states to advance to the next contest in the American-Made Solar Prize Round 5, a competition designed to spark U.S. solar energy innovation. Round 5 has two tracks—one for hardware and another for software—allowing even more innovators and entrepreneurs to compete.

Dec. 7, 2021

SolarAPP+ Speeds Solar Installs for 2,000 Homes (and Counting)

NREL’s solar permitting tool “busts through bureaucracy” to fast-track residential solar projects and expands into energy storage permitting.

Dec. 7, 2021

Extreme Weather, Rapid Innovation, and Rock-Bottom Prices: NREL Researchers Offer Guidance for Solar Systems To Last

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have laid out a cost-effective five-point plan to improve the reliability of solar panels in light of extreme weather, rapid innovation, and extremely competitive prices.

Dec. 2, 2021

Data-Informed Analysis Reveals Energy Impacts of Shared Micromobility

Driven by the growing popularity of shared micromobility—which typically involves the use of electric bicycles and scooters as well as regular bicycles—a research team from NREL is exploring the energy impacts of such travel modes versus the conventional modes they may replace.

Dec. 2, 2021

Landmark Demonstration Shows How Common Wind Turbine Can Provide Fundamental Grid Stability

In a milestone for renewable energy integration, NREL and partner General Electric (GE) have operated a common class of wind turbines in grid-forming mode, which is when the generator can set grid voltage and frequency and, if necessary, operate without power from the electric grid.

Dec. 2, 2021

Q&A With Eric Lockhart: Centering Community Needs Within Clean Energy Solutions

Eric Lockhart leads the Integrated Decision Support (IDS) group at NREL, in addition to being the principal investigator for the Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN), a project focused on novel applications of solar and storage in domestic settings.

Dec. 1, 2021

NREL Acquires Next-Generation High-Performance Computing System

Kestrel will take flight and bring the U.S. closer to a clean energy future.

Dec. 1, 2021

NREL Launches New Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program, West Gate

Every day, game-changing technologies are introduced that could more easily transition the world to a clean energy future. However, few entrepreneurs have the resources to develop promising new technologies into successful cleantech startups.

November 2021

Nov. 30, 2021

Navigating Our Ever-Changing Electric Sector: The 2021 Standard Scenarios Outlook Is Here

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's 2021 Standard Scenarios Outlook is now available. The Standard Scenarios are a suite of annually released future scenarios for U.S. power sector evolution through 2050.

Nov. 29, 2021

Q&A With Alberta ("Birdie") Carpenter: How To Untangle Carbon From the Vast Web of Manufacturing and Supply Chains

In the first Q&A profile in a new series, Manufacturing Masterminds, Birdie Carpenter shares how she is working to reduce industrial energy use, carbon emissions, plastic waste, and more.

Nov. 29, 2021

Scientists Discover Way To Improve Perovskite Efficiency and Stability

Researchers at NREL and affiliated institutions across the country have bolstered the efficiency of perovskite solar cells by as much as 16%.

Nov. 22, 2021

NREL Provides Guidelines for Creating Next-Generation Data Ecosystem

Scientists at NREL are helping pave the way for the next generation of data-driven, AI-enabled material science. In a new journal article, the authors describe a decade-long effort to build a modern data ecosystem to support close interaction between computational sciences and materials sciences.

Nov. 19, 2021

Path to Net-Zero Emissions Runs Through U.S. Buildings

Commercial buildings generate 16% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

Nov. 16, 2021

U.S. Navy, KIUC, AES, and NREL Innovate and Collaborate for Resilience and Cost-Effective Clean Energy Project on Kauai

Largest 100% clean energy microgrid within U.S. Department of Defense supports island community, Pacific Missile Range facility, KIUC, and Hawaii's ambitious renewable energy goals.

Nov. 16, 2021

Eight NREL Scientists Named to List of Highly Cited Researchers

Eight researchers affiliated with NREL are on this year's list of Highly Cited Researchers, with many familiar names from the 2020 list. Clarivate PLC, the London-based company that released the list on Nov. 16, selected 6,602 researchers around the world based on the number of highly cited papers they produced between January 2010 and December 2020.

Nov. 15, 2021

Janna Martinek Works Behind the Scenes To Solve Some of NREL's Most Complex Problems

Since joining NREL in 2012, Janna Martinek has developed a reputation across the laboratory as a leader in numerical modeling and related engineering. She is also known as someone who can handle any problem that is thrown her way—no matter how complex.

Nov. 15, 2021

Interlaboratory Consortium Broadens Technical Support Opportunities for South Asia

USAID and three Department of Energy national laboratories partner to advance clean and sustainable energy in South Asia.

Nov. 12, 2021

New Reports From NREL Document Continuing PV and PV-Plus-Storage Cost Declines

NREL has released its annual cost breakdown of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage systems. U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System and Energy Storage Cost Benchmark: Q1 2021 details installed costs for PV systems as of the first quarter of 2021.

Nov. 10, 2021

Sustainable Communities Catalyzer Is Advancing Equitable Energy Transitions Through Collaboration

NREL's partner, the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, is accelerating research capabilities for sustainable communities through the Catalyzers program.

Nov. 10, 2021

American-Made Solar Prize Round 4 Winners Move Quickly From Ideas to Prototypes

On Sept. 16, DOE announced the winners of the fourth round of the Solar Prize. AeroShield Materials from Boston, Massachusetts, and the r&d lab from Petaluma, California, each received $500,000 to continue developing and commercializing their products and an additional $75,000 in vouchers redeemable for technical support.

Nov. 9, 2021

Two Teams Named Grand-Prize Winners in Water Resource Recovery Prize

Phase 2 finalists of the Water Resource Recovery Prize receive honorable mention for proposing innovative solutions to lower the cost of water treatment by extracting valuable resources.

Nov. 8, 2021

An Evolving Dictionary for an Evolving Grid: Defining Long-Duration Energy Storage

A new thought piece by NREL analysts describes the challenges of defining long-duration energy storage to reflect both duration and application.

Nov. 5, 2021

Leader in Building Energy Modeling Research Reflects on Impact of NREL Career

Like many others, Luigi Gentile Polese was drawn to NREL by its mission and values. With a passion for energy and the environment, this innovator did not see an ambiguous job posting as a deterrent.

Nov. 4, 2021

News Release: NREL's Kate Anderson Honored for Clean Energy Leadership

The U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) program has honored Kate Anderson of NREL for her leadership and achievement in the field of renewable energy.

Nov. 3, 2021

News Release: NREL Supports Department of Energy Launch of the New Net Zero World Initiative at COP26 To Accelerate Global Energy System Decarbonization

Countries committed to raising their climate ambitions will work across U.S. government and DOE's national laboratories to create and implement highly tailored, actionable, technology roadmaps and investment strategies for key countries that will put global net zero within reach.


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