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

  • NREL's 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.
  • NREL's Wind Power
    NREL's National Wind Technology Center hosts giant turbines, which manufacturers throughout the world bring to the site for testing and certification.
  • NREL's Lab
    Two scientists work on a project to enhance the efficiency of thin-film solar cells at NREL's Process Development and Integration Laboratory, which helps private companies boost the performance of their cells and modules.

  • NREL's Infrastucture
  • NREL's Wind Power
  • NREL's Lab

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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