Latest News

Tracking the Sun VIII report cover
August 12, 2015
Latest "Tracking the Sun" report highlights progress in lowering solar soft costs

Berkeley, CA — The installed price of distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States continues to fall precipitously. This is according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost tracking report produced by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

Installed prices for residential and small non-residential systems... Read More

2014 Wind Technologies Market Report cover
August 10, 2015

Wind energy pricing is at an all-time low, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy and prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged under 2.5¢/kWh for projects negotiating contracts in 2014, spurring demand for wind energy.

“Wind energy prices—particularly in the central United States—have hit new lows, with utilities selecting wind as the low cost option,” Berkeley Lab... Read More

A Google self-driving car in Mountain View, CA.
July 28, 2015

A new paper co-authored by ETA researcher Jeff Greenblatt looks at the potential energy and environmental impacts of combining two emerging trends: driverless cars and on-demand mobility. He notes several synergies that may result from using autonomous vehicles as shared cars, including lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Portrait of Naïm Darghouth
July 09, 2015

Berkeley, CA – Future distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment levels are highly sensitive to retail electricity rate design, according to a newly released report by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The study also explores the feedback effects between retail electricity rates and PV deployment, and suggests that increased solar deployment can lead to changes in PV compensation levels that either accelerate or dampen... Read More

Berkeley Lab researchers Jeff Greenblatt (left) and Samveg Saxena. (Photo by Roy
July 06, 2015
New Berkeley Lab study finds lower greenhouse gas emissions on per-mile basis for driverless cars deployed as taxis.

Imagine a fleet of driverless taxis roaming your city, ready to pick you up and take you to your destination at a moment’s notice. While this may seem fantastical, it may be only a matter of time before it becomes reality. And according to a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), such a system would both be cost-effective and greatly reduce per-... Read More

The average total cost of saving electricity through utility efficiency programs
April 28, 2015

What does it cost to save electricity?

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have conducted the most comprehensive study yet of the full cost of saving electricity by U.S. utility efficiency programs and now have an answer: 4.6 cents. That's the average total cost of saving a kilowatt-hour in 20 states from 2009 to 2013, according to a Berkeley Lab report titled,... Read More

Sharon Chen sprays roofing material with soiling mixture.
April 14, 2015
Standards body approves Berkeley Lab’s method to mimic natural soiling of roofing materials.

Cool roofs can help keep buildings cool, thus lowering the building’s energy use, while also mitigating the urban heat island effect by reflecting sunlight away from buildings and cities. But as cool roofs age and get soiled, how much of their reflectance do they lose?

A collaboration led by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has established a method to simulate... Read More

March 30, 2015

Energy Technologies Area researcher Vi Rapp spoke at Build It Green’s 2014 Healthy Homes Conference in Berkeley, California on reducing carbon monoxide exposure risks. Tom White, Home Energy publisher, spoke with her to clear up misconceptions about combustion safety.

See the link below to read the full story in Home Energy.

March 09, 2015

The report, “A Vital Partnership: California and China Collaborating on Clean Energy and Combating Climate Change,” features the work of Berkeley Lab's China Energy Group as a successful example of collaboration with Chinese state agencies. The report was launched at an... Read More

Portrait of Vi Rapp
February 19, 2015
Career Spotlight: Research Scientist and Mechanical Engineer

Vi Rapp is a research scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area. She has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and focuses her research on improving combustion systems. One aspect of her work is designing cleaner, more efficient cookstoves.

Click the link below to see the full story on KQED's Quest program.

Selling Into the Sun report cover
January 13, 2015

Largest-ever study quantifies the value of rooftop photovoltaics on homes that sold across eight states and 12 years

A multi-institutional research team of scientists led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkley Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, universities, and appraisers found that home... Read More

Deconstructing Solar Photovoltaic Pricing report cover
December 15, 2014

Differences in local market conditions and policies, and other factors, particularly the size of the system, can lead to wide disparities in what consumers across the United States pay to install solar energy systems on their homes or small businesses, according to a recent study published by the... Read More

The modern grid
November 25, 2014

An excerpt from a U.S. Department of Energy blog:

"...dramatic changes are occurring in our nation’s energy mix, many of which demand a more technologically advanced electric grid. Increasing use of renewable energy sources, risks of cyber and physical attacks, and aging infrastructure create uncertainty of the current grid’s long-term ability to provide the services demanded of it. These include distributing and storing clean energy, enabling greater consumer choice and increasing... Read More

2014 Tianjin Symposium
November 19, 2014

China Energy Group Affiliate and retired Berkeley Lab Staff Scientist Chris Marnay organized and led the Tianjin 2014 Symposium on Microgrids in Tianjin, China on November 13-14. This was Dr. Marny's tenth Microgrid Symposium as chairman. This symposium is a series that dates back to the first on the U.C. Berkeley Campus in 2005, with others in Montreal, Nagoya, Kythnos Is., Greece, San Diego, Jeji Is., South Korea, Évora, Portugal, and Santiago, Chile. About 110 of the world's... Read More

Dev Millstein
November 19, 2014

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which result from the burning of fossil fuels, also reduces the incidence of health problems from particulate matter (PM) in these emissions.

A team of scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), RAND Corp., and the University of Washington, has calculated that the economic benefit of reduced health impacts from GHG reduction strategies in the U.S.... Read More

October 31, 2014

From the Department of Energy:

The Energy Department has released a new resource, the Better Buildings... Read More

October 28, 2014

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have jointly released the briefing Photovoltaic System Pricing Trends: Historical, Recent, and Near-Term Projections (2014 Edition). This is the third edition of an annual briefing, which draws on several ongoing research activities at the two labs, including:

Berkeley Lab's annual Tracking the Sun report series NREL's bottom-up PV cost modeling NREL's... Read More
Installing rooftop solar panels
September 24, 2014
Impacts to Utility Shareholder Earnings and Return on Equity Can Vary Greatly, and Can Be Mitigated through a Range of Measures

Berkeley, CA — A new report prepared by analysts from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) examines the potential impacts of customer-sited solar photovoltaics (PV) on electric utility profitability and rates. The report, entitled Financial Impacts of Net-Metered PV on Utilities and Ratepayers: A Scoping Study of... Read More

Tracking the Sun VII. Click to enlarge.
September 17, 2014

Berkeley, CA — The price of solar energy in the United States continues to fall substantially, according to the latest editions of two annual reports produced by the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

A third Berkeley Lab report, written in collaboration with researchers at Yale University, the University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), shows that local permitting and other regulatory procedures can significantly... Read More

September 04, 2014

Dr. Mark Levine, founder of China Energy Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laobratory, has been named Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award for Societal Impact. For more detail, please visit LBNL's website.

Ryan Wiser
August 18, 2014

Wind energy pricing is at an all-time low, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy and prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged just $25/MWh for projects negotiating contracts in 2013, spurring demand for wind energy.

"Wind energy prices—particularly in the central United States— are at an all-time low, with utilities selecting wind as the low cost option," Berkeley... Read More

2014 U.S.-China Eco-Partnership Signing Ceremony.
July 11, 2014

As part of the U.S.-China EcoPartnerships Program and one of the activities of the Sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) signed a statement of intent for cooperation with its Chinese EcoPartner, the Shandong Academy of Science (SDAS), in the 2014 U.S.-China EcoPartnerships Signing Ceremony on July 10 in Beijing, China.

Nan Zhou, the Deputy Group Leader of China Energy Group and Staff Scientist, signed the partnership... Read More

June 19, 2014

Can financing deliver significant private capital and rapid growth in home energy efficiency improvements? A key element may be attracting secondary-market investors to buy the efficiency loans and thereby replenish funds for a new round of lending. A new policy brief from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Energy Markets and Policy Group, led by... Read More

June 06, 2014

Berkeley Lab's Electrcity Markets and Policy Group has released a new, comprehensive report on on-bill efficiency financing programs—which offer loans for energy improvements that can be paid back on the borrower's utility bill. The report, produced through the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action (SEE Action) Network, surveys the landscape of on-bill financing programs and carefully examines program design elements and key performance metrics (e.g., loan volume, default rates, etc.).... Read More

May 30, 2014

Berkeley Lab's Electricity and Markets Policy Group has released a new report, authored jointly by Berkeley Lab and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, titled, “A Survey of State-Level Cost and Benefit Estimates of Renewable Portfolio Standards.”

Renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies are in place in more than half of all U.S. states and have played a critical role in driving renewable energy deployment over the past decade. In many states, however, fierce debates have... Read More

A house flooded up to the bottom of its windows.
April 14, 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group III, addressing the mitigation of climate change, has issued an executive summary of its Fifth Assessment report. The report updates policymakers on the technical and socio-economic aspects of climate change, including technologies and policies that can reduce impacts.

According to its website, "The IPCC Working Group III assesses all relevant options for mitigating climate change through limiting or preventing greenhouse... Read More

March 20, 2014

As more states and utilities increasingly turn to energy efficiency programs to manage demand for electricity and natural gas, it is important to understand how much saving energy costs. By examining regulatory reports on efficiency programs in 31 states, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have determined the cost of saving energy through efficiency programs funded by utility customers in the period 2009-2011. A report published today presents those costs at the... Read More

Hanna Breunig
March 05, 2014

EETD's Hanna Breunig has been named one of 16 Schmidt-MacArthur Fellows in the program's class of 2014.

Breunig is a graduate student researcher in the Sustainable Energy Systems Group's emerging technology analysis group, Environmental Energy Technologies Division, and a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She is one of 16 Schmidt-MacArthur fellows in the class of 2014.

The Schmidt-MacArthur... Read More

MAnufacturing STructure and Energy Research Tool (MASTER)
February 12, 2014

The China Energy Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has released the MAnufacturing STructure and Energy Research (MASTER) tool. The MASTER tool is designed to help users understand how different factors (production growth of industry subsectors, industry structural change, and energy intensity change of industry subsectors) influence overall industrial energy use trends over time. Policy makers often seek such values in order to make more informed decisions related to energy and... Read More

Lin Xia from UC Irvine
February 04, 2014

Smarter power plugs and appliances that can turn electronics on and off according to a homeowner's behavior rather than a fixed schedule. A water heater that delivers water to the different fixtures in the house at temperatures customized for the particular water use. A smarter-than-ever thermostat that knows how to set different temperatures for different rooms in a house. High-pressure water jets that can cut magnetic metal to construct high-precision, high-efficiency motors at lower cost... Read More