Department of Energy Secretary Chu recently revealed more details of their 'SunShot' initiative, aimed at reducing the costs of large scale solar energy to make it competitive with fossil fuels.
The SunShot initiative will focus on four pillars:
Advancing technologies for solar cells and the the systems that convert sunlight into energy.
Optimizing the performance of solar installation.
Improving the efficiency of the solar system manufacturing processes.
Improving the efficiency for installation, design and permitting for solar energy systems.
Although this endeavor has a focus on large-scale implementation of solar energy harvesting, the trickle-down benefits of the initiative should flow all the way down to the consumer level and residential application. The ultimate goal is to bring total costs down about 75%, to roughly $1/watt, by 2020.
For more details on the announcement, go to the DOE website.