“The SunShot Vision Study describes what our energy landscape might look like once SunShot goals are achieved and solar energy provides a substantial portion of our energy supply.”
— Energy Secretary Steven Chu
The SunShot Vision Study provides an in-depth assessment of the potential for solar technologies to meet a significant share of electricity demand in the United States during the next several decades. The DOE study explores a future in which the cost of solar technologies decreases by about 75% between 2010 and 2020 in line with the SunShot Initiative’s cost targets.
With a focus on photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP), the SunShot Vision Study examines the potential pathways, barriers, and implications of achieving the SunShot Initiative price reduction targets and resulting market penetration levels.
The study used two models developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to evaluate a SunShot scenario and a reference scenario. Key findings of the study include the following:
- Achieving the level of price reductions envisioned in the SunShot Initiative could result in solar energy meeting 14% of U.S. electricity needs by 2030 and 27% by 2050. However, realizing these price and installation targets will require a combination of evolutionary and revolutionary technological changes.
- Annual U.S. electricity-sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are projected to be significantly lower in the SunShot scenario than in the reference scenario: 8%, or 181 million metric tons (MMT), lower in 2030, and 28%, or 760 MMT, lower in 2050.
- Achieving the SunShot scenario level of solar deployment could support 290,000 new solar jobs by 2030, and 390,000 new solar jobs by 2050.
- Across all market sectors, the lower electricity prices in the SunShot scenario translate into about $30 billion in annual cost savings by 2030 and $50 billion in annual savings by 2050 compared to the reference scenario.
Complete Study, Chapters, and Appendices
- Executive Summary
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Solar Energy Market Evolution and Technical Potential
- Chapter 3: Analysis of PV and CSP Growth in the SunShot Scenario
- Chapter 4: Photovoltaics: Technologies, Cost, and Performance
- Chapter 5: Concentrating Solar Power: Technologies, Cost, and Performance
- Chapter 6: Integration of Solar into the U.S. Electric Power System
- Chapter 7: Solar Power Environmental Impacts and Siting Challenges
- Chapter 8: Solar Industry Financial Issues and Opportunities