The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted a technology and policy forum April 8-9, 2010, on what is required to make large-scale solar a viable solution for our energy future. The forum brought together scientists, policy makers, industry and non-governmental organization (NGO) leaders to develop the blueprint for a plan on technology development, regulatory changes and deployment strategies. 

The goal of the forum is share knowledge, expertise and perspectives to establish priorities, advance technology and meet the challenges presented by the implementation of large scale solar.

Forum Objectives  

  • What are the values, benefits and challenges that need to be reflected in the implementation of large-scale solar projects?          
  • What scientific and technology advances can mitigate the most critical impacts of large-scale solar deployment?          
  • What are the current regulatory and investment challenges to the advancement of technology/science developments and to the deployment of large-scale solar, and how can they best be met?             

Policy and Legislative Drivers 

Although current solar power generation in the U.S. constitutes less than 0.1% of our total energy consumption (8800 MW of installed solar capacity), large-scale solar projects are moving forward. Solar energy is expected to provide a significant percentage of U.S. electrical needs over the coming decades. The increased interest in solar energy is reflected in recent legislative action. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) and the U.S. Senate is considering similar legislation. In addition, the House has also passed the Solar Technology Roadmap Act (H.R. 3585) that directs the Secretary of Energy to oversee a committee that will advise the federal government on solar technology development. Concurrently, the Department of Interior is also conducting a Programmatic Environmental Impact Study on Solar Energy Development that will guide the development of large-solar energy projects on federal land (anticipated release is September 2010).