Originally published on CleanTechnica
by Tina Casey
It looks like President Trump has some ‘splaining to do. After successfully appealing to military veterans on the campaign trail, the new Commander-in-Chief hasn’t exactly been doing them any favors during his first week in office. To take just one example, the massive cuts planned for the Department of Energy could pull the rug out from under the agency’s popular SunShot Solar Ready Vets job training program.
If SunShot has been ringing your bell in the last couple of days, that’s probably because the Intertubes went into full hair on fire mode when word spread that the staff of the department has been ordered not to share their work on social media. Reportedly the blackout applies to private accounts as well as the Energy Department’s @ENERGY Twitter and other social media throughout the division that includes SunShot, the Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
What Is This SunShot Of Which You Speak?
For those of you new to the topic, SunShot was authorized with bipartisan support during the Bush Administration as part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, but it didn’t kick in with funding until former President Obama made it the showcase for collaborative public-private clean power programs aimed at reducing the cost of solar power down to parity with fossil fuels.
The benchmark was $1.00 per Watt by 2020, and this week our friends over at GreenTech Media reported that goal has already been achieved — three years early — in the utility scale solar sector.
That’s a stunning success, considering that utility scale solar was hovering around the $4.00 range as recently as 2011.
To be clear, according to GreenTech analyst Ben Gallagher, the Energy Department’s highly successful Loans Program Office can probably take most of the direct credit for the price drop, and those folks would most likely agree. However, SunShot helped to set the table:
…Gallagher emphasized that the signals, monetary and otherwise, that SunShot sent to investors and entrepreneurs “made the market more efficient.” He said that SunShot helped accelerate this industry and allowed vendors and customers to be able to tolerate a bit more risk.