Solar Newsletter—April 2021

The Solar Newsletter is an electronic newsletter that provides information on NREL's research and development of solar technologies.

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VIDEO: NREL Pioneers the Future of Photovoltaics

Catch up on NREL’s more than 40-year history of PV research and development, including work on silicon, copper indium gallium diselenide, cadmium telluride, III-V, and perovskite solar cells. And get a glimpse of where NREL is headed next.

Photo of the Los Angeles skyline at dusk.
NREL Study Details LA's Possible Paths to 100% Renewable Energy

An NREL team has completed a multi-year, first-of-its-kind study that considers how Los Angeles can achieve a 100% renewable future. Informed by more than 100 million simulations—including modeling of distributed PV adoption—the study presents several feasible pathways.

Photo of solar panels with mountains in the foreground.
Expanding PV and Maintaining Reliability on the Western U.S. Grid

The Western Interconnection distributes power from Canada to Baja California. A new series of NREL reports detail how this continent-spanning grid can continue to add solar energy generation while maintaining reliable delivery of power.

Solar APP logo.
From 90 Minutes to Instant—Solar Permitting Process Gets Faster for Local Governments

NREL and a team of solar developers, governments, and code officials developed a new no-cost, no-touch software system to streamline residential rooftop solar permits. Learn more about SolarAPP's early successes and consider signing up to pilot it.

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How NREL Is Advancing Microgrids for American Communities

Microgrids may be a cornerstone of future energy systems. With funding from the Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, NREL is pursuing multiple projects to develop and demonstrate microgrid technologies. From North Carolina to Colorado, read more about this work.

Research Highlights

U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System and Energy Storage Cost Benchmark: Q1 2020

Steady-State Off-Design Modeling of the Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Recompression Cycle for Concentrating Solar Power Applications with Two-Tank Sensible-Heat Storage

Colossal Grain Growth in Cd(Se,Te) Thin Films and Their Subsequent Use in CdTe Epitaxy by Close-Spaced Sublimation

Capital Costs for Dual-Use Photovoltaic Installations: 2020 Benchmark for Ground-Mounted PV Systems with Pollinator-Friendly Vegetation, Grazing, and Crops

Research Roadmap on Grid-Forming Inverters

Toward Validation of Combined-Accelerated Stress Testing through Failure Analysis of Polyamide-Based Photovoltaic Backsheets

Upcoming Events

April 26 – Solar District Cup Pitch Championship

May 4Solar Desal Prize Round 2 Informational Webinar

May 10DuraMAT Webinar: Polymer Properties for PV Module Reliability

June 1Perovskite Startup Prize Application Period Closes

Staff Profile – Samantha Reese

Sam Reese

Clean Energy Manufacturing Analyst
Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis

Samantha Reese spent years traveling the country and world working within various supply chains—from optical communication equipment to data storage. Now she studies the supply chains of clean energy technologies such as wide bandgap semiconductors and geothermal systems at NREL.

"I love being able to connect advancements in basic science to industry through cost and supply chain analysis. At the end of the day, no matter how awesome a technology is, it won't be adopted if it's not cost-competitive."

Read more about her work at NREL.