Promising to transform solar power from a “boutique” option to an affordable, dependable, mainstream energy solution, MIT and the Chesonis Family Foundation today launched a “solar revolution” with the ultimate aim of making solar energy America’s primary carbon-free fuel.
The Solar Revolution Project (SRP), funded by a $10 million gift from the Foundation, will explore new materials and systems that could dramatically accelerate the availability of solar energy. The SRP will complement and interact closely with other large solar projects at MIT, creating one of the largest solar energy clusters at any research university.
The Chesonis gift will allow MIT to explore bold approaches that are essential for transforming the solar industry. Specifically, it will focus on three elements –capture, conversion and storage — that will ultimately make solar power a viable, near-term energy source.
“Solar is thought of as an ultimate energy technology off in the distant future. The goal of SRP is to move this timeframe nearer to the present. The SRP will make solar a practical alternative, by committing a 10-year timeframe for establishing the new base of scientific knowledge it will take to draw a market-competitive energy supply from the sun,” said Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy and Professor of Chemistry at MIT, who will direct the SRP. “With SRP, think ‘solar’ and think ‘now.’ This is the revolution that is implied in the project name.”
Professor Ernest Moniz, director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), said, “Climate change makes the search for more environmentally benign sources of energy urgent and hugely important. Many experts have concluded that solar energy is a key, if not the key answer to our global energy challenges in the long term.