NREL: 35 Years of Clean Energy Leadership

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory opened the Solar Energy Research Institute in Colorado 35 years ago.


| July 5, 2012



NRELs Infrastucture

NREL's 327-acre main campus got an infrastructure boost in 2006 and 2007 when projects in the pipeline were accelerated. On the right, beyond the solar panels, is the Research Support Facility, recently tagged as the top net-zero energy building in the world.


PHOTO: DENNIS SCHROEDER

The following article is posted with permission from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Thirty-five years ago this month, when President Jimmy Carter opened the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) in Golden, Colorado, gasoline cost 62 cents a gallon, and solar power about $100 a watt.

Now, in the summer of 2012, the price of gasoline at the pump is $3.89 per gallon, the installed cost of solar power about $4 a watt.

That's a six-fold increase in the cost of gasoline, and a 95 percent reduction in the cost of solar. And with solar and wind energy growing by about 35 perecent a year, and biofuels burgeoning, the laboratory in Golden is more vital than ever.

After 14 years as a solar institute, SERI achieved national lab status in 1991 under President George H. W. Bush. SERI became NREL, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

35 Years of Innovations, Breakthroughs, Discoveries

What a 35 years it's been.

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