Solar Newsletter

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

Subscribe to the Solar Newsletter or see the archives.

A worker with a damaged solar panel.

Long-Lived? Highly Recyclable? Priorities for PV in a Circular Economy

Vast amounts of new PV manufacturing will be needed to meet U.S. decarbonization goals, but longer-lived PV modules could ease the amount of materials and manufacturing required. NREL’s new quantitative model of PV module lifetimes and recycling rates considers scenarios for the future flows of PV materials.

Transparent squares in the sky.

New Roadmap and Solicitation To Improve Heliostats

Heliostats are a key component of concentrating solar-thermal power plants. A new roadmap identifies research and deployment gaps in heliostat technologies and strategies to overcome them. The roadmap is part of an NREL-led consortium aiming to advance concentrating solar power technologies.

Transmission towers at sunset.

Insights on the Path to a Net-Zero Power Sector by 2035

What would it take to decarbonize the electric grid by 2035? A new report examines the types of clean energy technologies and the scale and pace of deployment needed to achieve 100% clean electricity, or a net-zero power grid, in the United States by 2035.

An aerial image of cars driving down a highway.

NREL Releases Comprehensive Databases of Local Ordinances for Siting Solar Energy Projects

State and local zoning laws and ordinances influence how and where solar energy projects can be sited and deployed. Two new, machine-readable databases track state and local wind and solar energy zoning laws and ordinances in the United States.

A microchip.

NREL Advances III-V Solar Cells for Use on Earth

III-V materials make some of the world’s best solar cells, but their expense has mostly limited them to space-based applications. New research is setting efficiency records with a lower-cost manufacturing technique and pioneering reuse of expensive substrates, a step toward bringing these world-class solar cells down to earth.

Research Highlights

U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System and Energy Storage Cost Benchmarks: Q1 2021

Surface Reaction for Efficient and Stable Inverted Perovskite Solar Cells

Technoeconomic Analysis of Changing PV Array Convective Cooling Through Changing Array Spacing

Embodied Energy and Carbon From the Manufacture of Cadmium Telluride and Silicon Photovoltaics

Staff Profile – Matthew Beard

Matthew Beard

Senior Research Fellow
Materials, Chemical, and Computational Science Directorate

Matt Beard joined NREL nearly 20 years ago and has conducted pioneering research in unconventional semiconductors, solar photochemical processes, and next-generation photovoltaics. He has led two Energy Frontier Research Centers, including the Center for Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Semiconductors for Energy.

In 2022, Beard was awarded the EO Lawrence award by the U.S. Department of Energy. The award is among DOE's highest honors, recognizing mid-career U.S. researchers for exceptional scientific achievements.

"It's an honor to be recognized by the Office of Science. And it isn't just me. I've had the privilege to collaborate with a lot of really smart people here at NREL."

Read more about Matt Beard's research accomplishments.