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.


Stay connected with the latest news and research breakthroughs from NREL.

December 2020

Dec. 30, 2020

Solving Solar Power Growing Pains in Michigan

To expedite distributed energy resource integration and plan for more distributed energy generation, the Michigan Public Service Commission contacted NREL for help updating its rules.

Dec. 30, 2020

The Future Is Autonomous: NREL's Autonomous Energy Grids Research Featured in IEEE Spectrum

A recent feature story in IEEE Spectrum magazine covers current progress and the opportunities ahead for autonomous energy grids (AEGs), and how the Basalt Vista neighborhood has made NREL's vision for AEGs a reality.

Dec. 30, 2020

SETO Awards NREL To Pursue National Solutions in Solar Integration

NREL has been awarded a large share of funds from the Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) 2020 funding program. NREL leads three projects. Two will target broad challenges in systems integration and the third will apply artificial intelligence to solar optimization.

Dec. 22, 2020

System Advisor Model Update Includes New Data, Improved Model Integration

Make informed decisions about renewable energy system design and project economics with the latest version of NREL's System Advisor Model.

Dec. 22, 2020

Technical Roadmap Guides Research Direction for Grid-Forming Inverters

A team of experts from NREL and several collaborating institutions have published the Research Roadmap on Grid-Forming Inverters, a comprehensive guide to understanding inverter-dominated power systems. The roadmap provides a system-wide perspective on the integration of inverter-based resources.

Dec. 22, 2020

Top 20 NREL Stories of 2020

NREL researchers and staff reached countless goals and achieved numerous successes in science, partnerships, and technology commercialization in 2020, from breaking world records to launching new initiatives. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Dec. 21, 2020

2020 JUMP into STEM Winners Announced for Three Technical Challenges

This year's JUMP into STEM competition pushed students to research, collaborate, and develop possible solutions for three key issues facing the building science industry.

Dec. 18, 2020

News Release: I AM Hydro Prize Winners Leverage Advanced Manufacturing Expertise to Bolster Hydropower

Eleven winning teams claimed top honors with their concepts to leverage the rapid innovations enabled by advanced manufacturing to solve hydropower's critical challenges.

Dec. 18, 2020

Nuclear-Renewable Synergies for Clean Energy Solutions

For nearly a decade, JISEA has supported analysis and dialogue on the potential of nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems to provide sustainable, cost-effective, and reliable power, heat, and other energy services.

Dec. 18, 2020

Quantum Wells Enable Record-Efficiency Two-Junction Solar Cell

Researchers from NREL and the University of New South Wales achieved a new world-record efficiency for two-junction solar cells, creating a cell with two light-absorbing layers that converts 32.9% of sunlight into electricity.

Dec. 17, 2020

Solar District Cup Students Are Ready for the Finals

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition has announced that 35 teams from 34 schools are advancing as finalists in the Class of 2021 program.

Dec. 17, 2020

Swimming With the SHARKS: NREL Makes a Splash at 2020 ARPA-E Funding Round

NREL researchers are working to fast-track the development of tomorrow's cost-effective marine energy technologies, thanks to an ARPA-E SHARKS funding award.

Dec. 16, 2020

$10 Million Sparks Research To Reduce Risks of Promising Bioengineered Organisms

Two awards totaling nearly $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program will support two research projects at NREL and partner laboratories that aim to analyze and reduce biosecurity risks of promising bioengineered organisms.

Dec. 16, 2020

All in a Day's Work

In their new report, "Workforce and Economic Development Considerations from the Operations and Maintenance of Wind Power Plants," NREL researchers Matthew Kotarbinski, David Keyser, and Jeremy Stefek seek to expand our understanding of wind's economic impact by examining O&M worker integration in communities.

Dec. 14, 2020

At 30 Years Young, the Future Is Bright for NREL's High-Flux Solar Furnace

With the breakneck speed of innovation at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the laboratory's High-Flux Solar Furnace (HFSF) is all the more remarkable for continuously facilitating envelope-pushing research since 1989.

Dec. 14, 2020

First Solar's Photovoltaic Technology Completes 25 Years of Testing at NREL

Determining how many years a solar panel will last can take, well, years. Intended to function for 25 years or more, solar panels must be made to withstand the elements. In some cases, panels continue working well after their planned operational lifetime. Nowhere is this more evident than on the sunny hillside where NREL operates the Outdoor Test Facility.

Dec. 9, 2020

NREL's Top 2020 Wind Program Accomplishments Demonstrate a Clear Vision for Wind Energy Advancement

The NREL wind program's top 2020 achievements demonstrate not only the laboratory's scientific and research abilities, but also its clear vision for wind energy advancement.

Dec. 8, 2020

News Release: Tri-Lab Initiative Leads Innovation in Novel Hybrid Energy Systems

Future novel hybrid energy systems could lead to paradigm shifts in clean energy production, according to a paper published last week in Joule. Researchers from the U.S. DOE's three applied energy laboratories co-authored the paper describing such integrated energy systems.

Dec. 4, 2020

NREL Research Takes Safety Issues into Account for Perovskite Production

While research continues to move perovskite solar technology toward commercialization, scientists at NREL are investigating how to manufacture them with human health in mind.

Dec. 4, 2020

Co-Optima Reveals Scientific Details Behind Light-Duty Vehicle Research

For the first time, researchers with DOE's Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines (Co-Optima) initiative have shared scientific details that will help the research community and industry identify viable candidates for bio-based fuels that can maximize performance and efficiency when used in turbocharged spark-ignition (SI) engines.

Dec. 3, 2020

2020 Standard Scenarios Outlook Models Possible Evolution of U.S. Electricity Sector with Expanded Metrics

Explore 45 forward-looking scenarios and a new interactive data viewer with the latest release of our flagship Standard Scenarios.

Dec. 2, 2020

Offshore Wind Industry Prepares To Ride Economic High Tide

National Wind Technology Center researchers at NREL apply a range of modeling expertise and tools to help industry, government, and research partners gain objective understanding of the balance among potential offshore wind costs, revenues, and risks within the context of technical, legal, regulatory, tax, and policy issues.

Dec. 2, 2020

NREL Research Team Analyzes COVID-19 Manufacturing Supply Shortages

The early days of the ongoing pandemic were marked by shortages of personal protective equipment and coronavirus testing materials. To help overcome those challenges, an NREL research team led by Samantha Reese and Alberta Carpenter identified pinch points in the manufacturing process due to simultaneous shortages and increased demand for face shields, N95 respirators, and materials used in coronavirus tests.

Dec. 2, 2020

NREL's Bryan Pivovar Awarded for Excellence in Fuel Cell Research

The Electrochemical Society (ECS) headquarters has awarded the 2021 Energy Technology Division Research Award to Bryan Pivovar, a researcher in the Chemistry and Nanoscience Center at NREL.

Dec. 1, 2020

Transportation Secure Data Center Turns 10, Sees Dramatic Growth

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Transportation Secure Data Center (TSDC), a national resource providing free online access to a veritable treasure trove of detailed travel behavior data applicable for a host of research applications.


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