GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010 | Photovoltaics | Thin Film Solar Cell



GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

October 2010 The George Washington University Solar Institute 609 22nd Street, NW, Suite 301 Washington, DC 20052


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

OVERVIEW ................................................................................................................................................... 6 MAKING AN IMPACT IN WASHINGTON AND THE STATES ..................................................................... 8 Advising the U.S. Department of Energy and Other Executive Branch Agencies ............................................ 8 DOE Grand Challenge for $1/Watt Electricity from Solar Energy................................................................. 8 DOE Solar Vision .................................................................................................................................... 9 Energy Information Administration ........................................................................................................ 10

...................................................................................................... 11 Energy (ARPA-E) ................................................................ 11 Office of Science and Technology Policy .................................................................................................. 12 Assisting the U.S. Congress ....................................................................................................................... 12 Assisting State Officials ............................................................................................................................. 13 RESEARCHING AND ANALYZING CRITICAL ISSUES .............................................................................. 14 Research by the Institute and its Faculty Partners ...................................................................................... 14 Analyzing the Cost and Performance of Photovoltaic Technologies............................................................ 14 Defining the Impact of Tellurium Supply on Cadmium Telluride Photovoltaics .......................................... 14 Researching Improved Processes for Hydrogen Conversion ...................................................................... 16 Evaluating the Solar Energy Potential of the Department of Defense .......................................................... 17 Improving the Assessment of the Air Emissions Reduction Benefits of Solar Energy .................................... 17 Revaluating the Economics of Photovoltaics............................................................................................. 18 Analyzing Current Economic Models for Solar Electric Generation............................................................ 19 Researching Key Legal Issues to Support Solar Expansion ......................................................................... 19 Assessing the Design, Adoption, and Impact of State Solar Financial Incentives .......................................... 20 Modeling the Solar Grand Plan to Facilitate Deployment .......................................................................... 20 Assessing Policies to Expand Investment in and Use of Solar Power in the U.S. ........................................... 22 Student Research ...................................................................................................................................... 23 Analyzing the Endangered Species Act and Utility-Scale Solar Development in the Southwest ...................... 23 Researching Solar Real Estate Investment Trusts ...................................................................................... 23 Researching Restrictive Covenants .......................................................................................................... 24 RAISING AWARENESS ............................................................................................................................... 26 Educating the Next Generation of Solar Leaders ........................................................................................ 26 Hosting the Second Annual Symposium .................................................................................................... 26 Educating Stakeholders Through the News Media, Presentations, and Other Outreach ............................... 30 News Media .......................................................................................................................................... 30 Presentations and Other Outreach .......................................................................................................... 31 Internet and Social Media ....................................................................................................................... 32 MOVING FORWARD .................................................................................................................................. 35 APPENDICES .............................................................................................................................................. 36

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

In its second year, the GW Solar Institute expanded its multi-faceted work in addressing the major technical, economic, legal and policy challenges associated with the deployment of solar energy. We substantially increased our assistance to Federal agencies, particularly the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), completed and published significant research work, broadened our research work with students, and intensified our public outreach and education. findings in a broad range of disciplines, ranging from science and technology to economics, law, and policy. To cite just a few examples: Research published in the May 7, 2010 issue of Science Magazine analyzed how potential reductions in the thickness of the cadmium telluride (CdTe) layer in CdTe cells and enhanced distinguished group of 100 experts from academia, national laboratories, industry and government to participate in an August 2010 workshop focused on a grand challenge for $1/Watt electricity from solar energy. Representatives of several DOE offices also during the past year, including the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, the Energy Information Administration, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency tellurium recovery could substantially boost projected energy production from thin film CdTe solar cells. These research results are very significant in setting forth key elements of a path to maintain international market share for this important U.S. solar technology. of Science and Technology Policy and the Congress also sought technical assistance from the Institute and its researchers.


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

outreach efforts also reached an expanded audience. computer code and revealed that the solar energy cost estimates contained in the critical energy model used by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) are not up-to-date. The Institute has provided extensive information to the EIA and engaged in an in-depth dialogue to address these deficiencies. A law review article published in the inaugural edition of the GW Journal of Energy and Environmental Law reveals that the methodology that has been used by most states for compiling state inventories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has generally been misapplied so as to substantially understate the GHG emission reduction benefits of solar photovoltaics (PV) and four other energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in most regions of the country. significant traction when the Institute won support for its syndication at, one of the largest websites devoted to renewable energy news and information. over the Internet for the first time. In addition, the

Figure 1. Pictured above: (left) Ken Zweibel, Institute Director, speaking at EmTech09, an annual conference hosted by Technology Review, a publication of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; (right) Debra Jacobson, Institute Co-


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

The goal of the workshop was to assist DOE in determining whether the proposed grand challenge

During the past year, the Solar Institute substantially expanded its work in providing advice and assistance to Federal agencies, particularly the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Our efforts increased with the Energy, and they expanded to include the Office of Science, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy, and the Energy Information Administration. Since DOE is the lead Federal Department on solar energy technology and policy, this expanded role is very significant.

should be undertaken, and if so, how the program

energy system equivalent to 5-6 cents per kilowatthour (kWh) would be fully competitive with electric generating systems using fossil fuels without additional subsidies in most parts of the country

greenhouse gas reduction and clean energy transformation. The workshop focused on an initial target program that would demonstrate pilot installation of fully installed systems by 2017. The workshop participants also focused on a white paper drafted by EERE and ARPA-E that discussed the following paths to solutions: Module innovations that will permit achieving ~50 ¢/W and 20%+ efficient modules with a focus on manufacturing strategies and improved efficiency in multiple technologies;
Innovations in installation and non-module

DOE Grand Challenge for $1/Watt Electricity from Solar Energy
The Secretary of Energy, Stephen Chu, invited the August 2010 focused on a grand challenge for $1/Watt (W) electricity from solar PV. He was selected among a distinguished group of about 100 experts from academia, National/Federal laboratories, industry, and government to participate in the event. The workshop Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy (ARPA-E).

aspects that will permit low-cost (~40 ¢/W), highly automated or simplified systems that can be readily deployed over large areas; and Power electronics innovations that create modular inverters or centralized inverters at a significantly reduced cost (~10 ¢/W) using novel materials and circuit architectures. Secretary Chu began the workshop with an address about the science supporting global climate change, the need for rapid adoption of clean energy solutions,

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

the results of the workshop and how it might shape our thinking and the programs that we may develop around it. As a leader E-mail from Mihn Le, Chief Engineer, Solar Energy Technologies Program, U.S. Department of Energy, to Ken Zweibel, Institute Director - July 7, 2010
and the need to accelerate PV deployment. Assistant Secretary Cathy Zoi added her voice in support of these goals and stated that the Administration would seek significant, multi-year support for the $1/W initiative. The workshop resulted in a positive outcome in terms of program balance, direction, and aggressiveness to meet the stated $1/W installed system goal. development (R&D) investments will be essential to circulated for public review in May 2010 emphasized that the vast expansion in deployment needed to support the 20% solar goal in 2030 is achievable without PV technology breakthroughs but that

DOE Solar Vision
In late 2009 and 2010, the Institute continued to play a provides an in-depth assessment of the potential for solar energy technologies to meet a significant share of electricity demand in the United States by 2030, and its findings and recommendations are expected to inform key decisions by policymakers. The study has explored two scenarios for solar deployment by 2030: one in which solar electricity provides 10% of total demand and another in which solar electricity provides 20% of total demand.

research was critical in analyzing two major cost issues: (1) current costs and prices of PV module technologies at the system level (See Figure 2); and (2) the non-module costs of PV systems (so-called balance of system or BOS costs, such as installation

served on the Steering Committee for the entire study and led the drafting of a key chapter on PV technologies, cost, Figure 2. Best-PV-System Prices (Using Representative PV-Module Prices) for Residential, and performance. The draft chapter Commercial, and Utility-Scale Markets for Several Technologies (from the draft DOE Solar Vision Study,
based on GW Solar Institute research) 9

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

labor, trackers, and permitting and regulatory costs) shown as a function of module efficiency for several different PV technologies. These technologies included: cadmium telluride thin film (CdTe), amorphous silicon (a-Si), copper indium gallium (di)selenide thin film (CIGS), multicrystalline silicon (multi-Si), and monocrystalline silicon (mono-Si) (see Figure 3). In addition, the Institute made another important analytical contribution to the PV technology chapter. This contribution involved research on feedstock supply issues for several key PV materials: indium, tellurium, silver, selenium and gallium. These data are summarized in Figure 4. The DOE is expected to release the final Solar Vision Study in the fall of 2010.

Energy Information Administration
In the course of researching the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) last year, researchers from the GW Economics Department had found that some of the primary technological and cost assumptions underlying its solar sub-module needed to be re-evaluated and updated. This conclusion is important because NEMS is the primary energyeconomy model developed and maintained by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to generate projections, currently through 2035, for the production, importation, conversion, consumption, and prices of energy.

Director and Co-Director, Debra Jacobson, the researchers initiated a dialogue with the EIA staff member responsible for the NEMS solar sub-module to assist in a reevaluation of the technological and cost assumptions. The EIA staff member also attended the included extensive discussion of current cost data and trends for solar energy. As a result of these interactions, the EIA staff member
Figure 3. Balance of System Costs (Before Installer Profit) for Several PV Multiple Applications and a Range of Module Efficiencies (from the draft DOE Solar Vision Study, based on Institute research)

major report developed for EIA on national and region-specific installed costs for solar technology. This requested involvement is significant because NEMS is relied upon by the EIA in the analysis of various legislative proposals for the U.S. Congress, and the assumptions that are used in NEMS form the background to most U.S. debate about alternative energy options. The Director and EIA staff have engaged in an in-depth dialogue about the most appropriate price

Figure 4. Key PV Material Availability Forecast Annual Potential GW/yr Output (from the draft DOE Solar Vision Study, based on Institute research) 10

assumptions for large, utility-scale PV systems. The

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Director has provided information from several solar installers and manufacturers as well data from the PV cost chapter of the draft DOE Solar Vision. It is expected that this dialogue will result in much more realistic assumptions by this crucial data source within the U.S. Department of Energy.

for Energy Technology: Strengthening the Link

The solar advisory panel made a particularly important contribution by emphasizing the need to build scientific understanding of existing photovoltaic technologies rather than focusing undue emphasis on the discovery and exploration of completely new and revolutionary materials and approaches. Both areas are valuable but the panel emphasized existing PV technologies because the DOE Basic Energy Sciences Program had not previously given sufficient consideration to the value and opportunities for progress in those technologies. The Institute also facilitated cross-fertilization between DOE programs since some of the recommendations developed by the review panel for the Office of Basic Energy Sciences were included in the draft Solar Vision PV cost Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

group of six technical experts advising the Office on a redirection of its solar energy research program. The goal of this expert review was to increase the relevance of the program to industry needs and national priorities and to increase the near-term research impact. The other members of the panel included officials from Applied Solar, DuPont, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, GE Global Research, and Columbia University. This effort involved

Advisory Committee in January 2010 as well as participation in the drafting of a report chapter

Agency Energy (ARPA-E)
The Institute also provided a presentation on solar energy technologies in February 2010, as part of a

The report concluded that the widespread penetration of photovoltaic solar electricity requires advances to increase performance, lower costs and increase reliability. Moreover, the report highlighted three priority areas for basic science research: (1) fundamental properties of photovoltaic interfaces; (2) advanced photovoltaic analysis and computational modeling for scale-up; and (3) better control of photovoltaic lifetime and degradation processes. The Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee highlighted these three priority research areas in its effectiveness in future solar research and development. ARPA-E is important because it is a new entity researching alternative energy technologies. It was modeled on the well-known Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an Agency that claims responsibility for various technological

ARPA-E. At the request of the Agency, the presentation focused on the role of government film cadmium telluride technology. The goal of the

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

innovations, such as the Internet. ARPA-E is charged with several key goals, including the creation of new tools to bridge the gap between basic energy research and development and industrial innovation and the -of-

Office of Science and Technology Policy
During the past year, the Institute built a strong working relationship with the renewable energy group of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President. Interaction with this Office is important because of its role in advising the President and his senior staff on scientific and technical matters and in coordinating scientific and technical issues across the Federal government. One of the areas of Institute assistance to OSTP involved a briefing to the Science & Technology Policy Institute, an OSTP support organization, in June 2010. This briefing focused on various challenges and opportunities in siting solar energy facilities and related cost implications. For example, siting issues have included challenges and delays related to endangered species and habitat impacts, water use by certain solar thermal technologies, and concerns of adjacent property owners about impacts on real estate values. The briefing explained that siting issues related to utility-scale solar facilities in the Southwest U.S. are particularly important because large systems in these sunny areas are about one-third the cost per kilowatthour as small systems in the Mid-Atlantic region. This fact has important implications for meeting terawattscale energy needs and is often overlooked by policyeconomics.
Figure 5. The 14 MW PV array above provides Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada with nearly 25 percent of its annual power use.

During the past year, the Institute and its researchers continued to assist the U.S. Congress by providing valuable technical information. This work Washington, D.C.. One area of assistance involved technical support to the staff of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords relating to the development of the Department of Defense Energy Security Act. The legislation provides the first DoD requirements for on-site renewable energy, including a mandate by FY2021 for on-site renewable electricity generation to offset 20% of energy consumption by all facilities constructed in each fiscal year. The legislation also strengthens overall renewable energy requirements.


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

The Institute also provided background information to Congressional staff members on the issue of feed-in tariffs (FITs), an important financial incentive approach. FITs are a renewable energy policy that typically offers a guarantee of: (1) payments to project owners for renewable energy produced; (2) access to the electric grid; and (3) stable, long-term contracts (e.g., 15 to 20 years). One of the major goals of energy and climate legislation is to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, including solar energy, and experience in many countries, most notably in Germany, has highlighted the benefit of FITs in achieving this goal. However, a report on solar energy legal issues prepared for the Solar Institute (as well as another report prepared by researchers for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) highlighted substantial legal constraints impeding states interested in adopting FITs. In addition, it should be noted that the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, in October 2009. As Director was one of the witnesses who testified at a hearing before the House Science and Technology Committee on this legislation in July 2009. The legislation creates a strategic roadmap to advance solar energy technologies through prioritized research and development activities.

-Director was appointed by the Director of the Virginia Department on Environmental Quality (VA DEQ) to serve on a Regulatory Advisory Panel to assist the Department in the development of new regulations relating to solar energy facilities. These new regulations will implement legislation enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in 2009 that was designed to streamline permitting for small renewable energy facilities (defined as facilities up to 100MW), including solar energy facilities. The legislation required the

regulation rather than being developed on a case-bycase basis. The solar-specific rulemaking is likely to be precedent-setting since it is an innovative effort to streamline the consideration of wildlife and historic resource issues in conjunction with the siting of stand-alone solar facilities in the East. In addition, the Institute sponsored a student project to develop background information to assist the Regulatory Advisory Panel in its deliberations. The Institute recruited five students completing their Public Policy and Public Administration to focus their final capstone project on this issue, and VA DEQ utilized the project results.

for PV, must move another notch. Simply put, there are places and PV systems today that can sell electricity at 13 ¢/kWh, or even 10 ¢/kWh, and make an adequate return. They are cost-effective at those prices without a cent of incentives, no carbon price, and not even traditional depreciation. And there is a potential for billions of watts of these systems and, as the years go by, a diffusion of their locations from the


- June 24, 2010

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

reduced (per watt of output), including the amount of land area, the size of support structures; the length of wires; and the amount of installation labor. Some

In its second year, the Solar Institute pursued a number of new research projects, increased its engagement with students on research projects, and completed a variety of research projects begun during its first year. This research work covered a wide range of disciplines, including science and technology, economics, law and policy, and it achieved some very significant outcomes.

module technologies, such as low-cost thin films (e.g., approximately $0.76/watt to produce) actually can reduce system cost effectively by gaining improved efficiency. This improvement slightly reduces their module costs, and it also reduces their balance of system costs. In contrast, technologies, such as singlecrystal silicon, already have very high efficiencies (over 20%) that are difficult to improve, and their balance of system costs are already low. For these technologies, a different R&D focus is more valuable, including research to reduce module manufacturing costs, which can result in reduced feedstock costs, larger modules, and less capital intensive manufacturing.

RESEARCH BY INSTITUTE AND ITS FACULTY PARTNERS Analyzing the Cost and Performance of Photovoltaic Technologies

Defining the Impact of Tellurium Supply on Cadmium Telluride Photovoltaics
Another significant research project involved an analysis of how potential reductions in the thickness of the cadmium telluride layer in CdTe modules and enhanced tellurium (Te) recovery could substantially boost projected energy production of thin film CdTe solar cells. This research was stimulated by the needs of the DOE Solar Vision (see Figure 4) and was published in the May 7, 2010 issue of Science

involved the drafting and the coordination of peer

was conducted under a subcontract to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The significance of this work is discussed earlier in this report.


improved module efficiency and balance of system costs (see Figure 3) has been particularly helpful in highlighting productive future R&D directions for PV technologies. Clearly, as module efficiency increases, some components of the rest of a PV system can be
14 Figure 6. Table from Science article: The Impact of Tellurium Supply on Cadmium Telluride Photovoltaics

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

After many years of development, CdTe PV modules have become the lowest-cost producer of solar electricity (even though these modules work at a lower efficiency than crystalline silicon cells), and sales have increased rapidly. However, concern has been expressed about projecting hundredfold increases in power production relative to current production with CdTe. These concerns have been raised because Te is one of the crust, and the current technology now uses Te at rates that are substantial fractions of its documented supply.

The article emphasizes that the need for tellurium can be reduced from about 100 metric tons per gigawatt (GW) to about 4.4 metric tons per GW by increasing module efficiency from 10% to 15% and by thinning layers of CdTe from 3 microns to 0.2 micron. With these improvements, maximum annual cadmium telluride module production from currently identified ores (about 1500 metric tons/yr of tellurium as a byproduct of copper extraction) could allow CdTe modules to achieve nearly 100% market share for PV sales reaching 10% or even 25% of world electricity use in 2030. These are huge global markets of about 3000 to 7500 terawatt-hours per year (TWh/yr) (all U.S. electricity this year is about 4000 TWh/yr).

Zweibel, concludes that the long-term potential for CdTe PV modules need not be bleak, given realistic developments in cell technology and Te recovery.

Figure 7. Marketshare (%) Potential of CdTe for 10% and 25% of Future World Electricity Use (from Science Magazine; Zweibel, May 7, 2010) 15

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Researching Improved Processes for Hydrogen Conversion
During the past year, Professor Stuart Licht of the GW Department of Chemistry completed his research exploring the economics of a novel hybrid method (called Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo or STEP) for the centralized production of hydrogen gas using concentrating PV electricity and solar thermal energy. The STEP method captures more sunlight than any individual technology by making use of both the visible and thermal portions of solar energy. The final research results demonstrate even greater benefits than the preliminary results reported in last STEP process could cut the cost of producing hydrogen by 55% compared to traditional PV approaches to generate hydrogen. The land area to produce hydrogen is reduced by a factor of seven and capital costs are reduced significantly, greatly lowering the production costs. An article describing the foundation for this work was published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry,3 and the results of this research are in press in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.4 This important research provides evidence that the STEP system is an economically viable solution for the production of hydrogen. It can produce hydrogen at a cost equivalent to that of gasoline at $2.60 per gallon. The STEP process has continued to receive attention from the private sector, and the process is now also being investigated for chemical processes to use solar energy to efficiently synthesize fuels, including synthetic jet fuel and diesel fuel,5,6 and for carbon dioxide free processes to produce metals, such as iron.7 A publication detailing advances in this research is in press in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.8
16 by Stuart Licht, published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry - Letters : Coiled platinum before (left), and after (right), carbon capture at 750° C in molten carbonate. Carbon dioxide fed into the electrolysis chamber is converted to solid carbon in a single step. Figure 8.

On another front, an impetus to drive a transition from fossil fuels to solar generation of electricity is the growing use of electric vehicles. An obstacle to the implementation of electric cars is the low driving range imposed by the high weight and volume of contemporary lithium batteries (lithium batteries have only one-fifth the volumetric energy density of field of multi-electron storage to increase battery storage capacity, including the new vanadium boride air battery, which discharges eleven electrons per molecule and delivers twice the energy capacity of gasoline,9 and the super-iron battery.10 The National Science Foundation has awarded GW a new three-year grant for research of these multi-electron batteries.

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Evaluating the Solar Energy Potential of the Department of Defense

Improving Assessment of the Air Emissions Reduction Benefits of Solar Energy

School of Engineering and Applied Science have made substantial progress in advancing their project to evaluate the solar potential of Department of Defense (DoD) facilities and non-tactical vehicles. Moreover, the research has resulted in important technical guidance in the development of Federal legislation. This project is the focus of the doctoral dissertation research of Ariel Castillo and his co-investigator, Professor Jonathan Deason. Research conducted during the second year of this project confirmed that the DoD only would need to set total energy needs for facilities and non-tactical vehicles with solar energy. In addition to their research on solar energy potential, the researchers have completed an analysis of other key parameters, including facility energy requirements, carbon dioxide emissions, and the cost of implementing solar energy at 200 major DoD bases in the continental U.S. They also are evaluating the mission considerations of these bases. The goal of the project is to complete by the end of the year an evaluation of all of the listed parameters to support the development of a framework for a solar energy transition across the 200 bases. In addition, the researchers plan to develop an optimization model identifying the most promising candidate bases for solar energy implementation. As discussed earlier in this report, the research has resulted in important technical guidance during the past year to the staff of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in support of the development of the Department of Defense Energy Security Act.

Debra Jacobson, published an article in the inaugural edition of the George Washington University Journal of Energy and Environmental Law, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies republished this article in a report of the work of the REIL Project, a leading international renewable energy network. This article, which was co-authored with Colin High of Resources Systems Group, was titled Assessment of the Air Emissions Reduction Benefits of Increased Use of Energy Efficiency and Renewable

Although most of the

underlying research work for the article was funded by the Clean Energy/Air Quality Integration Initiative of the U.S. DOE, the GW Solar Institute provided important additional support during the final stages of the research and the drafting of the law review article. The publication analyzes three common methodologies used for quantifying air emission reductions from increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, including solar PV. Two of these methodologies are based on information in the Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID), and the third methodology was developed by Resource Systems Group (RSG). The law review article finds that the eGRID system average methodology that has been applied by the Climate Registry and hundreds of other entities understates the carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emission reduction benefits of PV in two regional power markets by approximately 65% to 165% compared to a methodology based on calculations of emission reductions from marginal generating units

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

on an hourly basis (RSG methodology). The eGRID system average methodology also underestimates the emission reduction benefits of increased use of EERE technologies when compared to the eGRID nonbaseload methodology. More recent work undertaken across all regions of the country confirms that these findings are not isolated results but are indicative of widespread misapplication of the eGRID system average methodology. This publication is significant because 40 States have adopted the Climate Registry protocols as their approach for measuring direct and indirect emissions in their greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. These protocols rely on the eGRID system average methodology in the typical case where utility-specific data is not available. Moreover, the major climate legislation in the House of Representatives and Senate references the Climate Registry protocols. The law review highlights cost-effective recommendations to address this serious problem, including an enhancement of the eGRID Database. The research results were provided to the Climate Registry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the DOE to underscore these serious issues. In addition, the co-authors provided the article to the Council of Environmental Quality to assist in the development of a GHG reporting protocol for Federal agencies.

Reevaluating the Economics of Photovoltaics

other sources of electric power over their typically long operating lives of up to a century. His research of its long operating period might change the way we deploy it to meet societal challenges like climate change and energy security. The Energy Policy journal has accepted this paper for publication. According to the paper, the electricity costs of fossil fuel plants remain fairly high after initial capital expenses are paid because fuel price dominates plant economics, and fuel continues to be burned. In comparison, for power plants that use little or no fuel, such as PV, wind, and hydro, operating costs after loan payments cease are much smaller (see Figure 9 for a case with 3% fuel price escalation). PV is unique in having the lowest operating costs and requiring little or no capital expenses during its operating life.

Figure 9. The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of these options assuming a 3% fuel escalation and a 0% discount rate. 18

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

years, and periods of 40 years are being considered. With proper design, PV might last a century at negligible operating or refurbishing costs. Figure 9 shows a case where PV has a dominating cost advantage assuming a zero discount rate. After a remains less expensive than conventional sources up to a discount rate of about 2%. There is an ongoing debate about the appropriate discount rate for government-funded infrastructure, and a 2% rate is not out of the question. At present, society and decisionoperating cost into account when examining PV deployment strategies.

Researching Key Legal Issues to Support Solar Expansion
In 2010, research teams led by Lee Paddock, Associate Dean for Environmental Studies at the GW Law School, and David Grinlinton, a Visiting Professor from the University of Auckland, completed a major report on solar energy legal issues funded by the Solar Institute. The report highlighted how the legal framework for solar energy has a major impact on the viability of solar electric generation facilities of all sizes. It analyzed the following critical legal questions related to solar energy deployment: the value of feedin tariffs and issues that may complicate the ability of states in the United States to adopt such tariffs; the role that Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards play in supporting solar energy development; public utility regulatory barriers impacting certain types of solar energy providers; the nature of the steps that can be taken to expedite siting of transmission lines; the effect that land use and zoning regulations may have on solar facility deployment; and the value of government procurement provisions in increasing solar energy production. The study reviewed all of these issues in the United States and for several of the issues, in other countries Germany, Spain, Japan, China, and Australia. Dean Paddock presented the results of his research on feed-in tariffs at an energy symposium sponsored by the University of Toledo Law School in March 2010. In addition, the University of Toledo Law Review has accepted a related law review article co-authored by Dean Paddock and David Grinlinton for publication.

Analyzing Current Economic Models for Solar Electric Generation
During the past year, additional work on this project involving the solar energy sub-module of the 2009 National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) - was conducted by professors in the GW Economics Department, including Frederick Joutz, Arun Malik, and Robert Trost, and a graduate student, Mark Hutson. This work also involved the interactions of the solar sub-module with the rest of the NEMS model. In the course of working with NEMS last year, the researchers had found that some of the primary technological and cost assumptions underlying its solar sub-module needed to be re-evaluated and updated. This conclusion is very important because NEMS is the primary energy-economy model developed and maintained by the U.S. EIA. As discussed earlier, this research work resulted an important dialogue with the EIA (see section on


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Assessing the Design, Adoption, and Impact of State Solar Financial Incentives
In 2009, researchers from the GW Institute of Public Policy completed important research that should be valuable in contributing to improved design of state financial incentives for solar energy. This research project, conducted by Andrea Sarzynski and Gary Young, sought to fill major information gaps about: (1) the level of state expenditures on incentive programs; (2) program results; and (3) the nature of the design or implementation features that worked best to promote the use of solar energy technology. This project addressed the information gaps through three research phases. The first phase catalogued and assessed the design and variation of state-level incentives for solar power (as of December 2008). The second phase compiled evidence regarding the impact of incentive programs in ten states on consumer adoption of solar technology, reduction in energy demand, and reduction in the environmental impact of energy production. The third phase of the project evaluated the factors that influenced the adoption of state solar financial incentives within states. Three work products were produced: a technical report on the design and variation of solar energy incentives; a technical report on the impact of state incentive programs in ten states; and a working paper on the factors influencing state adoption of solar energy incentives. Several high-level findings emerged from this project. First, nearly all state financial incentive programs are oriented toward consumer adoption of small-scale solar energy technology, rather than utility-scale solar projects. Second, the actual design of incentives varied widely across states, and only a limited number of the 10 states reviewed appear to provide effective

incentives for small-scale solar technology adoption. Solar energy incentives appear to work better in certain contexts than others (i.e., where conventional electricity is costly and carbon-intensive, where installation costs are low-to-moderate). The researchers also found that solar incentive programs, particularly rebates for residential PV systems in certain States, appear quite expensive as tools for greenhouse gas reduction compared to other alternatives. The research reveals that a state-financed incentive program does not appear to be a necessary condition for solar market development in some states. For instance, market conditions already may provide sufficient inducement to invest in solar energy technology (e.g., Hawaii) or non-state incentive programs already may be successfully stimulating markets (e.g., Arizona). In many other states, however, small-scale solar facilities remain quite expensive to install, and financial incentives may be necessary to stimulate market development.

Modeling the Solar Grand Plan to Facilitate Deployment

School of Engineering and Applied Science have made substantial progress in advancing their project to construct buildout scenarios associated with transitioning the United States to an electric power generating platform consisting primarily of renewable energy, as described in the Solar Grand Plan.12 This project is the focus of the doctoral dissertation research of Steven Burns and his co-investigator, Professor Jonathan Deason. They have engaged professionals throughout the energy industry in documenting the current status of the U.S. electric

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

generating system and the technical steps necessary to transition to large-scale renewable energy generation. This project entails the application of manufacturing, cost, resource, development, and regulatory limitations through a linear optimization model that outputs an optimized project plan detailing a recommended phased buildout schedule of solar PV and other renewable energy-based generation and associated transmission infrastructure in the United States over the next 40 years. This model will enable planners to develop a realistic deployment schedule balancing power price increases and construction timeframes with growth in installed solar and other renewable energy capacity. The strength of the model that is under development is that it focuses on one of the primary technical limitations associated with large-scale renewable energy deployment: the issue of transmission capacity available to intermittent power generation resources. The model incorporates available data with respect to power grid stability and transmission capacity to and from each region two items that ultimately will -scale renewable energy integration and provide an optimized year-by-year plan for upgraded transmission to these areas to minimize total time to implement the Solar Grand Plan or other proposed renewable energy buildout plans while observing cost and regulatory constraints. The model currently is in the final testing phase and is projected be completed this year. In addition, a second project to assist in the planning of large-scale solar deployment is also moving forward. This project, led by Professors Denis Cioffi and Homayoun Khamooshi in the GW Department of limit renewable energy buildout. Consequently, the

Decision Sciences, provides a different set of tools to assist in the planning of large-scale solar deployment. This research uses a systems dynamic approach to model how PV, wind energy, and traditional electric generation sources will compete and be deployed as the costs of solar electric generation decrease over a period of 40 years. A major advantage of this systems dynamic model is that it provides a user-friendly, flexible tool. At any layer of the model itself, one can view the parameters in an influence diagram that, while complicated because of the large number of elements, shows clearly how they affect one another. The model needs only seconds of time to run, with output that can be shown directly in tables and graphs. The parameters that one wishes to study can be changed by turning a knob on the screen. Thus, results of different strategic options can be viewed quickly.

proprietary models are not user-friendly. More importantly, such models are not readily transparent, requiring the understanding of thousands of lines of code to view their inner workings. At the other end of the spectrum, complicated spreadsheet models also do not show easily the paths of their calculations. Furthermore, they are mostly static, i.e., often unable to capture the interaction of variables and changing conditions. Thus, the system dynamics approach employed by the researchers offers significant potential benefits.


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Assessing Policies to Expand Investment in and Use of Solar Power in the U.S.

From the standpoint of traditional economic analysis, subsidies for solar power are justified when the total value of the external benefits from deploying solar power equal or exceed the cost differential between

of Public Policy and Public Administration completed the development of a solar policy framework that: summarizes the case for public intervention to promote the use of solar power (based on the best and most recent evidence on benefits of solar power that are not reflected in market prices and costs); develops a typology of different legal, regulatory, and fiscal options available for encouraging wider and more rapid use of solar energy technologies; and evaluates illustrative policies, benchmarked against accepted criteria of policy effectiveness. Joseph Cordes, Associate Director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, led this research with assistance from Peter Linquiti, a graduate student. The categories of public policy responses identified in this research are organized along a continuum from those that entail minimal public intervention, to those requiring more activist policies to address market failures, and they include the following: (1) policies to level the playing field by eliminating legal and regulatory barriers; (2) policies that affect relative production cost, such as investment tax credits and regulatory/tax treatment of fossil fuels (e.g. cap-andtrade); (3) policies that affect production through capital costs and investment risk, such as interest rate subsidies, loan guarantees and tax treatment of the financial return to solar capital supplied by individual investors; and (4) policies that affect the prices and revenues received by providers of solar power, such as Renewable Portfolio Standards and feed-in tariffs.

producing electricity from solar power vs. other means. Earlier assessments of solar subsidies have suggested that the external benefits were not sufficient draft report identifies and discusses several factors that strengthen the case for public subsidies for solar power: (1) political obstacles to enacting policies that would put prices on what the National Academy of fossil fuels; (2) new estimates of these hidden costs, which suggest significant savings in hidden social costs from greater deployment of solar power; (3) continued reductions in the cost of solar power; and

deployment of solar technologies. The draft report also analyzes recently released Treasury Department data on the volume and geographic distribution of Section 1603 cash grants. which is a standard framework for evaluating investment tax incentives, along with the Solar Advisor Model, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, to compare the incentive effects of production tax credits and investment tax credits. Based on this analysis, the draft report discusses the comparative economic, financial and political advantages and disadvantages of the two types of tax credits. The report will be completed for posting on


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Several law students conducted important research on solar energy issues as part of a course on Environmental Issues in Energy Law co-taught by the -Director at the GW Law School in the spring of 2010. Three of these projects are discussed below, and all three research papers are posted on the

classified as a threatened species rather than an endangered species). In addition, the mitigation plan proposed the relocation of the desert tortoise off the Ivanpah Project site following detailed scientific study and consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The research indicated that BrightSource has not only complied with the requirements of the ESA, but it also had taken additional measures to protect the desert tortoise. Therefore, the paper concluded that the relevant Federal and State agencies should issue the

Analyzing the Endangered Species Act and Utility-Scale Solar Development in the Southwest
One research paper, prepared by LLM candidate Jay Donohue, shows the significant impact that legal issues involving the Endangered Species Act (ESA) can have on the development of utility-scale solar power facilities in the Southwest region of the United States. The paper focuses on a case study of BrightSource System (Ivanpah Project), the issue of the threatened mitigation plan for the tortoise under the ESA. The research revealed the impact on the project of the discovery of the desert tortoise in 2007 during the development of the BrightSource project. Following this discovery, BrightSource developed and issued a mitigation plan to relevant Federal agencies (pursuant to its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act and the ESA). BrightSource agreed to reduce the size of the Ivanpah Project by 23% (reducing the capacity of the facility to 392 megawatts). The proposed modification eliminated the land area where the project would have had the greatest impact on the desert tortoise (even though the land is not in a critical habitat and the tortoise is

relevant approvals to the Ivanpah Project under the ESA. The Donohue paper also examines the ramifications of the Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact environmental permitting process for future projects located within Solar Energy Zones in the Southwest. Lastly, the research evaluates legislation proposed by Senator Feinstein from California entitled the substantially limit solar development in the Mojave Desert, including the Ivanpah Project.

Researching Solar Real Estate Investment Trusts
In 2010, another student involved in the GW Law School energy law course, Joshua Sturtevant, conducted extensive research to advance the concept of Solar Real Estate Investment Trusts (Solar REITs). The Institute Director had suggested this general concept last year, and the student research helped to develop important details. The general concept proposed by the Director was to extend a tax structure, which already exists and benefits the commercial real estate market, to stimulate large-scale solar energy development. Just as

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

real estate investment trusts (REITs) have spurred investment into commercial real estate, it was argued that Solar REITs could bring solar development to the masses and would increase capital flows into solar energy markets. The REIT concept is especially applicable to solar PV because of the nature of this technology, particularly its dependable output independent of most market risks (e.g, fuel price increases, risks related to new greenhouse gas regulation) and its long useful life.

Researching Restrictive Covenants
A third GW Law student research project by Katherine Ramsey sought to respond to a request for research assistance by a member of the Board of Directors of the MD-DC-VA Solar Energy Industries Association. This research project addressed the important issue of -Director supervised this research. This student project should be valuable in supporting the constitutionality of the legislation, expected to be introduced in the 2011 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, to invalidate existing homeowner association covenants that unreasonably restrict the installation of solar collection devices. During the 2010 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, legislation was introduced to invalidate existing homeowner association covenants that unreasonably restrict the installation of solar collection devices. Of particular concern to opponents was the fact that the legislation was retroactive in effect and addressed restrictive covenants that became effective before July 1, 2008. Opponents of the legislation contracts in violation of the contracts clauses in both the federal and Virginia Constitutions, and the sponsor of the legislation (House Bill 881) deferred the bill to the 2011 Session to review this objection. The purpose of the student research was to provide background information relevant to reconsideration of this legislation in the 2011 Session of the General Assembly. The paper explains why the legislation is likely to survive challenges under the contracts clauses, compares the bill to legislation in other States, and enactment.

code must be clarified in order to make this vision of solar investment a reality. For utility-scale solar facilities, it is necessary to clarify that proceeds from § 856 of the Internal Revenue Code. Such a clarification could be achieved by securing a favorable revenue ruling or private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service. Alternatively, Congress could enact legislation amending the Internal Revenue Code to achieve this objective. The effectiveness of the REIT structure in the solar energy context also would require the restructuring of some of the current financial incentives for large-scale solar projects as well as their clear integration with the REIT structure.


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

ability to convene high-level officials from the solar energy community. Speakers included senior executives from First Solar and SunPower, which represent approximately 90 percent of U.S.-owned

Another major role of the Solar Institute is educating the next generation of solar energy leaders through lectures and other opportunities. A major initiative in this area was launched in April with the creation of the Solar Institute-Lockheed Martin Fellows program. Under this partnership, a graduate student from the

manufacturing in solar PV; senior executives from BrightSource Energy, SolarReserve, and Abengoa Solar, which represent about half of the planned solar thermal deployment in the world; senior executives from leading companies in the solar industry supply chain, DuPont and Lockheed Martin, and the President of the major U.S. solar trade association. Other presenters included Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, who held senior executive branch positions under three presidents, and John Lushetsky, Director Other prominent solar energy experts from

selected to conduct research under the supervision of the Solar Institute during the 2010 to 2011 academic year. The research will focus on solar policy and legal matters related to large-scale solar energy projects. As a complement to the Fellows program, Lockheed Martin committed to hire the Fellow to work on energy issues, including solar energy, in a summer internship program.

government, non-profit organizations and academia also delivered remarks. Attendance at the symposium included more than 200 attendees from government, the private sector, nonprofit organizations and academia. In addition, more than 100 individuals viewed the symposium live as it was streamed over the Internet, and the presentations and associated video also have been made available for

The symposium keynote speech by Ambassador


Eizenstat provided an important historical perspective

On April 19, 2010, the Solar Institute hosted its Second Annual Solar Symposium examining -long symposium featured a keynote speaker as well as four panels: Solar Vision Forum, Solar PV Electricity, Solar Thermal Electricity, and Solar Transportation - Electricity or


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

on solar energy policy dating back to the Carter Administration as well as highlighting current issues. He underscored the competitive challenges in solar manufacturing posed by China, which is expected to manufacture two-thirds of the solar panels in the world by the end of 2010. At the same time, he stressed concern about the lack of continuing Federal incentive funds available to spur solar manufacturing in the U.S. and the scheduled expiration of the Treasury cash grant incentive program for solar energy at the end of 2010. Significant attention was focused on the vision for solar energy, and John Lushetsky discussed the goals Study. This study was designed to evaluate the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of meeting 10% to 20% of electricity demand from solar energy technologies by 2030. Julie Blunden, Vice President for Public Policy at SunPower, predicted that solar energy would become the #1 or #2 resource for new electric generation in North America and Europe by 2015. Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association, emphasized the growth already occurring in the solar industry. He stressed that 85 MW of utility-scale PV was in operation but more than 6500 MW was under development at the time of the conference. The symposium presentations from solar PV experts emphasized the dramatic price reductions in solar modules that have occurred in recent years. According to Rhone Resch, average PV module prices fell approximately 40% between mid-2008 and the end of 2009, and speakers emphasized the continuing cost reductions anticipated in coming years. Moreover, Institute Director, Ken Zweibel, highlighted the

favorable long-term comparative economics for solar PV compared to other non-CO2 electric generating low operating costs are considered beyond a 20-year time horizon.

Maja Wessels, Executive Vice President of First Solar, manufacturer (using a CdTe thin film technology), reduction in module costs in five years, declining from $2.94 per Watt (W) in 2004 to $0.84/W in the fourth quarter of 2009. (In July 2010, First Solar announced it had reduced these module costs to $0.76/W). capacity skyrocketed from 10 Megawatts (MW) to roadmap projects a further reduction to $0.52 to $0.63/W by 2014. Substantial discussion also focused on approaches to achieving further cost reductions and product efficiencies. Several speakers emphasized that increased attention has been directed at addressing socells and modules) have declined. These soft costs include project management and installation costs as well as the costs of regulatory delays. SunPower underscored substantial cost reductions that they have


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Figure 10. Elaine Ulrich (left), Senior Legislative Aide for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and Cyrus Wadia (right), Senior Renewables Analyst for the Office of nd Science and Technology Policy, part of the Executive Office of the President, discuss solar energy issues between sessions at th Annual Symposium.

achieved in the past three years in this area supported by a contract with the Department of Energy. David Miller, President of Electronics and Communications for DuPont, provided insights into the critical role of continuing improvements in materials in increasing the future competitiveness of the solar PV industry. These materials include items such as encapsulants to protect the modules, metallization pastes and junction boxes. Miller emphasized that the cost of materials represents a greater percentage of total PV costs (30%) compared to other electronic products (e.g., displays and semiconductors), thereby increasing the significance of developments in this area. DuPont is ranked first in the world in PV materials manufacturing, and Miller innovations will enhance PV competitiveness by reducing module costs, increasing cell efficiency, and increasing the lifetime of PV systems to deliver lowercost power.

A number of speakers underscored that one of the capital, and they stressed the critical need for long-term, consistent incentive policies to overcome this constraint. Among the key financing needs cited were the extension of the Treasury grant program (established in 2009 and slated to expire at the end of 2010), improvements in the DOE loan guarantee program, reinstating a 30% solar manufacturing tax credit, establishing a Federal clean energy bank to provide access to low-cost financing, and broadening the investor base through a Solar Real Estate Investment Trust concept. Other speakers highlighted the need for improved access to land and transmission as well as issues involved in integrating solar energy into the electric utility grid. Streamlining the environmental review process for projects on Federal lands and for projects receiving Federal loan guarantees also was cited as an area of concern.

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Many speakers also highlighted increasing opportunities for solar energy. For example, Julie Blunden stressed that electric utilities across the country were now at an inflection point in the use of solar enrgy. She cited contracts with Pacific Gas & Electric for a 210 MW central station generating plant and own 200 MW of distributed rooftop generation. She stressed that utilities have been influenced by the fact that the levelized cost of energy for solar PV is now competitive with natural gas peaking plants, the reduced risks associated with solar PV, and other factors. William Gould, the Chief Technical Officer of Solar Reserve, and Scott Frier, the Chief Operating Officer of Abengoa Solar, provided a detailed review of the advances in solar thermal technologies that have moved these technologies into commercial use in the Southwest U.S. Frier emphasized that 430 MW of concentrated solar power projects are already in operation in the United States and that an additional 8,280 MW of projects are under signed contracts with utilities.

incentives also were cited as key drivers. Both presenters also highlighted the advantages of solar thermal technology in allowing utilities to store solar energy produced at various times of the day to help address the intermittency of solar energy and to provide power during peak demand periods, thereby commanding the highest prices. Cost declines in solar thermal technologies were projected as a result of further research and development, larger plants, global market growth, and the associated learning curve effects. In the presentations on solar energy in the transportation sector, Dr. Stuart Licht of the GW Chemistry Department detailed an innovative approach to use solar energy to produce both hydrogen and synthetic diesel for transportation. Don Paul, the Executive Director of the University of Southern California Energy Institute, compared the nature of the challenges involved in the various fuel and transport supply chains. For example, he stressed the high cost of the new production infrastructure needed for synthetic fuels but the benefits of reliance on existing vehicles and distribution and supply infrastructure for such fuels. Both Don Paul and Sam

the #1 or #2 new generation resource in North America

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, underscored the need for research and development on a diverse portfolio of energy options in the transportation sector, including solar energy sources. In summary, the Second Annual Symposium

Julie Blunden, Vice President for Public Policy, SunPower, GW Solar Institute Symposium, April 19, 2010
The presentations on solar thermal technologies emphasized that the increased interest of electric utilities in these technologies has been driven by several factors, including the need to diversify generation portfolios to hedge against fuel price risks and volatility and the risks of carbon regulation. Mandated renewable energy targets and financial

highlighted both the opportunities for solar energy as well as many significant challenges. It also underscored the importance of technical and policy advances to meet these challenges.


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Public education is critical in achieving the market transformation necessary for solar energy development, and therefore, the Institute continued to place a significant emphasis on its work with the news media and other outreach efforts.

Energy Washington Fox News GW Today Habitat Media IEEE Spectrum InfoX Land Letter MIT Technology Review

News Media
The Solar Institute built on the success of its first year by continuing a positive relationship with the news media. In addition to in-person interviews - on the radio, on camera, or on the record for a story reporters have turned to Institute staff for important background and analysis in preparing articles for publication. The Institute has established itself as a place for reporters to receive un-biased and factual insight on the latest solar issues. In the last year, reporters from the following news outlets have contacted the Institute for interviews and analysis or have published articles by its staff: AOL News ARD German Television American Forces Network Carbon Control News CNet Consumer Energy Report

MSNBC Progressive Radio Network Puglia Live Science Magazine SNL Financial The Christian Science Monitor The Columbus Dispatch The GW Hatchet The New York Times Voice of America The impact of these interviews can be highlighted with a few examples. For instance, after conversations with

absence of a comprehensive national solar policy and its impact on the U.S. solar market. The New York how the impact of transient clouds can be limited on the electricity output of large-scale solar facilities. In

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

another press report, the Director critiqued the tendency of government research agencies to focus undue emphasis on funding high-risk solar energy technologies instead of advancing foundational knowledge of established technologies. Thus, the to maintain U.S. competitiveness in established solar technologies in which U.S. companies currently possess a competitive edge.

numerous law firms across the country, and more than 300 individuals participated directly in the event. The Director discussed the special characteristics of largescale PV and concentrated solar power facilities, technical and economic opportunities and challenges, and siting issues. In February, the Director participated in a conference

Presentations and Other Outreach
Presentations also are an important component of the Directors provided nearly two dozen presentations last year on an array of solar energy issues to a wide range of solar energy stakeholders. Audiences ranged from highly sophisticated solar energy professionals, such as the attendees of the 2009 International Semiconductor Device Research Symposium at the University of Maryland and those attending the Intersolar North America Conference, to audiences seeking an introduction to the solar energy field. In October 2009, the Director also addressed the Solar Power International Conference, the largest solar conference in North America. The presentations focused on a variety of topics, such as solar energy technology and economic trends, technical challenges, and solar energy policy issues. One of the areas of focus in the past year involved presentations to the legal community a key player in the efforts to expand solar energy deployment. In February 2010, the Director delivered a talk on a webcast sponsored by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) on the topic of "Solar: The Future King of Renewables?" The event was streamed to

also focused on large-scale solar facilities, and it highlighted the current costs, land use characteristics, and the long-life potential of such facilities in the Southwest U.S. The impact of "soft costs," particularly Federal and state regulatory hurdles, also was discussed. The panel discussion with environmental and agency officials underscored the need to strike an appropriate balance between renewable energy goals and wildlife protection concerns in the solar energy development process. The Institute also provided seminars to business leaders during the past year. For example, presentations to Lockheed Martin and DuPont executives on technical and policy issues provided valuable updates to these industry leaders on key issues. -Director delivered a presentation at Yale University sponsored by the REIL Project. The presentation summarized her collaborative research that critiques the methodology used by the 40-State Climate Registry for calculating the emission reduction benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

meetings with various key stakeholders throughout the year. These meetings ranged from one with the


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Executive Director of the Solar Electric Power associations, to a meeting with the Team Leader for Climate and Chemicals of the Global Environment Facility, the largest public sector renewable energy technology transfer mechanism in the world.

websites dedicated to renewable energy news and information. Through these sites, the Institute has sought to highlight critical issues in the solar energy field and address misstatements that often occur. In addition, the Institute has engaged in many healthy dialogues with readers of the blog.

Internet and Social Media
The GW Solar Institute made significant progress in expanding its Internet presence in the last year. In addition to the hundreds of followers on Facebook and Twitter, the Institute has an e-mail listserv of more than 2,000 significant solar energy stakeholders, including industry professionals, energy lawyers, Federal officials, and legislative staff. The listserv and social networking sites allow the Institute to quickly distribute important solar news and educational information and to keep pace with the quickly changing solar market and national conversation. The annual output in kWh per installed Watt. The blog further explains the metric of dollar per Watt, and coupled with the output calculation, one can then make a reasonable estimation of the cost of energy in cents per kWh. This information is useful to not only solar neophytes but also to policymakers because it visited by more than 10,000 individuals from 93 countries. allows one to understand the impact of solar policies on affordability and to compare the cost of electricity other similar blog posts that help visitors understand 2009, explains in detail the key metrics driving solar energy adoption. resolution map of the solar resource in the U.S. and the simple calculations necessary to determine their local solar resource. With that number, individuals

electricity and uses 100,000 km for lakes behind the dams. This is about 1% of US land area. So in comparison,


solar economics and land use issues are proving to be an important output of the Institute as the national energy dialogue becomes more sophisticated. The main Solar Institute website continues to improve

Our Electricity with Solar

- January 28, 2010

the resources available to visitors. In addition to a growing document library and catalog of the

significant traction within the last year, when the Institute won support for its syndication at, one of the most visited

other solar energy events. In short, the GW Solar Institute is making full use of the Internet as a means of disseminating knowledge.


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Blog posts at Postponed Gratification Science Fiction Dream The Illusion of a Level Playing Field More Silliness from California Should US Coal be Phased Out in Favor of Wind and Solar? Grandfathering Our Problems, Blocking Our Solutions Solar Photovoltaics (PV) is CostCompetitive Now Photovoltaics Comes of Age The Gulf Spill: Addiction Reaction Solar for The Arithmetic of Solar Royalty Trusts

Is Bad News Better than No News? We Love Our Cheap Modules Does It Matter that Something Can Be Cheap a Long Time from Now? Cinch Land Needed To Make All Our Electricity with Solar Photovoltaics (and Why They Do) How Much Could We Save If We Harness Solar and Wind with Electric Vehicles to End Oil Dependence and Eliminate Carbon Dioxide as a Problem? CO2, Oil, Electric Vehicles, Wind and Solar

We Are Replacing Current Infrastructure and Incurring Added Costs, Because That Is the Only Way We Can Rapidly Turn Down Fossil Fuels First Solar, Ordos, China, US Is CIGS Turning the Corner? Climate Change and Peak Oil? Rule and Solar Energy Buying PV Without Getting Ripped Off Solar PV Getting Cheaper, But Press PV Fast Facts Our Excellent Renewables Adventure


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

As the Institute expands its relationships throughout the U.S. Federal government, opportunities abound for research and outreach about key issues impacting the future of solar energy. Some examples include the following: Reducing solar energy costs; Sustaining market growth so that learning-driven cost reductions continue; Assuring continuing improvements in solar energy technology; Integrating variable solar resources into the power grid; Overcoming challenges to the siting and financing of solar energy facilities; Resolving barriers to new transmission facilities; Finding a proper balance of societal investment in solar energy (for CO2 reduction and energy diversification, including recognizing the value of long-lasting PV); and Defining the opportunity for electric transportation powered by solar energy. The Institute will continue to take a leadership role in pursuing these and other issues. We look forward to working with interested parties on these efforts.


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Director Professor Ken Zweibel has led the Solar Institute and served as its Director since its formation in September 2008. This position continues three decades of experience in the solar energy field. He led the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s successful Thin Film PV Partnership; was co-founder, the first President and Chairman of the Board of PrimeStar Solar; authored two books on PV; and co-authored the notable “A Solar Grand Plan,” published in Scientific American in 2008. Co-Director Debra Jacobson joined the Solar Institute as its Co-Director and a Research Professor in

September 2009. She has worked on issues involving energy and environmental law and policy for more than 30 years. Debra earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Rochester and a Juris Doctor with honors from The George Washington University Law School. Executive Coordinator Alexander Winn has been an integral member of the Solar Institute since its

formation. He has assisted in various research efforts, and has taken the lead in coordinating many important projects, including the Annual Symposium, Institute communications, and the Institute’s website. Alex earned his B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Public Policy from The George Washington University and has begun the second year of the Masters in Public Administration Program at GW’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.

Scientific Directors
Denis F. Cioffi Randall K. Packer Arts & Sciences

The Institute also has benefited from the advice of its two Scientific Directors selected

from among the GW faculty. Associate Professor of Decision Sciences, GW School of Business Associate Dean of Special Projects & Professor of Biology, GW Columbian College of

Advisory Board

Based on years of academic, industry, technical and policy experience, the Advisory Board

members provide the guidance necessary for the Institute to make an important impact in the field of solar energy. These exceptional leaders are as follows: Ted Turner, Chairman, Turner Enterprises, Inc. John Gaffney, Vice President of Corporate Development & General Counsel, Solyndra, Inc. Richard Perez, Senior Research Associate, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York (SUNY), Albany LeRoy Paddock, Associate Dean for Environmental Studies and Professorial Lecturer in Law, The George Washington University Law School Jerry Bloom, Partner, Chair, Energy Practice, Winston & Strawn LLP Robin Crawford, Senior Vice President, Ruder Finn, Inc.

GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

GW Solar Institute Researchers We thank our colleagues and those GW students who have aided in the research efforts of the Solar Institute, both jointly and independently.

Denis F. Cioffi , Project Investigator, School of Business, Decision Sciences Joseph Cordes, Project Investigator, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration Jonathon Deason , Project Investigator, School of Engineering, Engineering Management David Freestone (Visiting), Co-Project Investigator, Environmental Law, GW Law School David Grinlinton (Visiting), Co-Project Investigator, Environmental Law, GW Law School Frederick Joutz , Project Investigator, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Economics Homayoun Khamooshi, Project Investigator, School of Business, Decision Sciences Stuart Licht, Project Investigator, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Chemistry Arun Malik , Project Investigator, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Economics Lee Paddock, Project Investigator, Environmental Law, GW Law School Andrea Sarzynski, Project Investigator, GW Institute of Public Policy Robert Trost, Project Investigator, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Economics Garry Young, Project Investigator, GW Institute of Public Policy

Graduate Students
Hina Ayub, Research Assistant, Chemistry, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences Steven Burns, Co-Project Investigator, School of Engineering, Engineering Management Ariel Castillo, Co-Project Investigator, School of Engineering, Engineering Management Jay Donohue, Environmental Law, GW Law School Tom Fitzgerald, Environmental Resource Policy, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration Geoffrey Heaven , Research Assistant, Environmental Law, GW Law School Mark Hutson, Research Assistant, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Economics Peter Linquiti, Co-Project Investigator, Public Policy, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration Scott Nuzum, Research Assistant, Environmental Law, GW Law School Katherine Ramsey, Environmental Law, GW Law School Tyler Ruthven, Research Assistant, Public Policy, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration Joshua Sturtevant, Environmental Law, GW Law School


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010

Adele Ashkar, Associate Professor, Landscape Design Program, College of Professional Studies Michael Duffey, Associate Professor of Engineering Management, School of Engineering Lance Hoffman, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences Stephen Hsu, Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Engineering Melissa Keeley, Assistant Professor of Geography & Public Policy and Public Administration, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences Peter LaPuma, Associate Professor of Environmental & Occupational Health, School of Public Health Stephen Pothier, Research Scientist, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences David Rain, Director of the Environmental Studies Program, Associate Professor of Geography , Columbian College of Arts & Sciences Geralyn Schulz, Associate Dean of Research & Professor of Speech & Hearing, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences Mark Starik, Professor, Chair, Strategic Management and Public Policy, School of Business

1. See page 15 of the report, available at: 2. 10.1126/science.1189690 3. S. Licht, "STEP (Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo) Generation of Energetic Molecules: A Solar Chemical Process to End Anthropogenic Global Warming," Phys. Chem. C., 113 (2009), 16283-1629. 4. Electrochemical Photo) Production of Hydrogen accepted (2010). 5. 61/254,943, filed Oct. 26, 2009. 6. Carbon Dioxide: as an Example of a Process for the Generation of Energy Rich Chemicals at High Solar 7. Disclosure, filed March 29, 2010. 8. S. Licht, B. Want, S. Ghosh, H. Ayub, J. Ganley, "A New Solar Carbon Capture Process: Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo (STEP) Carbon Capture," J. Phys. Chem. Lett. in press (2010).


GW Solar Institute Annual Report 2010


-Air Multiple Electron HighGWU Invention Disclosure, filed June 7, 2010.

10. 11.

-Capacity Li-ion Cathode: The Fe (III/VI) Super-

-972 (2010).

12. K. Zweibel, J. Mason, V. Fthenakis, A Solar Grand Plan, Scientific American, January 2008, available at:


Mission The George Washington University Solar Institute researches the economic, technical, and public policy issues associated with the development and deployment of solar energy to meet global energy needs and environmental challenges.

The GW Solar Institute Contact Information
609 22nd Street, NW, Suite 301 Washington, DC 20052 T: 202-994-1965 F: 202-994-0854

research and public events at:

The George Washington University Solar Institute researches the economic, technical, and public policy issues associated with the development and deployment of solar energy to meet global energy needs and environmental challenges.

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