By by Sydney Kaufman, Solar Novus:
It is hard to say whether the next great leap forward in solar energy efficiency or economics will come from the basic science research performed largely at universities and national labs, from incremental engineering improvement, or from investing in start-up companies to get their products from the laboratory to store shelves.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) requested a total of $29.5 billion dollar for 2012, an 11% increase from 2010 (including a significant endowment that year from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the Stimulus). This includes research, development, loan guarantee programs, grants for efficient buildings, smart-grid upgrades, and many other programs all the way to reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation. The DOE’s Office of Science, which is responsible for much of the basic research on energy problems, is requesting $5 billion (compared to $11.7 for National Nuclear Security Administration)… Read more