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News Release: NREL wins first Governor's Award for Research Impact in Renewable Energy

February 18, 2009

A non-profit coalition advocating for federal research in Colorado has honored the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory with one of its first Governor's Awards for Research Impact.

Gov. Bill Ritter presented the Governor’s Award for Research Impact in Renewable Energy to NREL officials at a reception on Feb. 17 at the Governor's Mansion.  It is one of five awards inaugurated by CO-LABS, a nonprofit organization that educates about and advocates for Colorado’s 24 federal research labs.

The awards will be publically announced Feb. 18 at a CO-LABS conference on federal research.  The CO-Labs conference will feature a keynote address on the value of federal research by NREL director Dan Arvizu, as well as remarks by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.

NREL was recognized for its contributions to thin films photovoltaics. Thin films are only a few micrometers thick; they use little or no silicon and can be manufactured at a lower cost and more efficiently than conventional silicon panels, making them a promising choice for large-scale solar energy projects. Thin films also can be integrated directly into construction supplies, vehicles fabrics and other materials, offering the potential of new solar energy designs and applications.

NREL is home to the National Center for Photovoltaics, and solar is NREL's largest, oldest and most-recognized program. For more than 30 years it has been the world's premier center for the research and development of photovoltaic technologies, and its scientists have owned numerous world records for solar cell performance.

Accepting the award for NREL will be John Benner, PV Industry Partnerships Manager, and NREL research fellow Dr. David Ginley, who has pioneered thin-film PV advances.

The CO-LABS  conference will be held at the Sheraton Denver West Hotel, 360 Union Blvd. in Lakewood. Events begin at 8:30 a.m.

The conference also will feature panel presentations and posters by lab scientists in the wind, biofuels and advanced vehicles programs who were finalists for research impact awards.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

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