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Response to kristopher (Original post)

Sat Aug 10, 2013, 12:30 PM

3. Plug-And-Play Residential Solar In Five Years? (More from Forbes)

Plug-And-Play Residential Solar In Five Years? Fraunhofer USA And Partners Are Working To Make This A Reality

Imagine going into your Home Depot HD -1.34%, Lowes, local hardware store, or ordering online to pick out your solar system. It might have PV modules that are peel and stick. It might have really simple residential rooftop mounting technology. You go to the counter and have the option of having somebody come to install it for you in an afternoon – or doing it yourself. The Lego set of solar will be as easy as IKEA . You put the ladder up on the rooftop, line up the pieces, connect to the pre-packaged inverter, and plug into a PV-ready utility outlet. You type in a code, and the system searches for and connects to your utility – taking advantage of the recent revolution in smart microelectronic devices – notifying it that you now have a PV system installed. With a grant from the DOE SunShot Initiative, the Fraunhofer USA is striving to make that a reality within five years.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the newly renovated Boston location of Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Sustainable Energy Systems. You may not have heard of Fraunhofer – it keeps a relatively low profile - but there is a good chance it has touched your life in one way or another. Fraunhofer was started in Germany after World War II, funded as part of the Marshall Plan for helping European industry get back on its feet. The idea was to provide independent third-party research and development capabilities to help companies do what they could not readily do themselves, and to share the fruits of those investigations where appropriate.

With more than eighty sites around the world, Fraunhofer is partially government funded, but mostly supported by its clients, and dedicated to “application oriented research.” Its website states “We shape technology. We design products.” And Fraunhofer does just that. In health, safety, transportation, communications, and other fields. Among other things, it has developed – and holds the patent for - MP3 music technology (I told you Fraunhofer has probably touched you).

Fraunhofer USA now has eight centers in the U.S., including a Center for Manufacturing Innovation, and two locations in Michigan that focus on coatings and laser technologies and applications. There is also a focus on energy. A new center in Storrs, Connecticut is dedicated to research on storage and fuel cells. The Boston-based Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, which includes a laboratory location in Albuquerque, focuses on solar, building energy technology, and distributed electrical energy systems, and is a prime example of how they use applied research to make energy technology better and cheaper.

Let’s start with the Boston building itself...


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kristopher Aug 2013 OP
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LineNew Reply Plug-And-Play Residential Solar In Five Years? (More from Forbes)
kristopher Aug 2013 #3
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