National solar testing site being launched in Williston - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

National solar testing site being launched in Williston

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Finding ways to cut the cost of solar power and making it work in northern climates is the mission of a new testing facility in Williston.

The Vermont Photovoltaic test center was unveiled Monday on IBM's campus. The three million dollar facility is one of five that the U.S. Department of Energy is funding around the country. The centers will test new technologies in hopes of making solar power more cost-competitive with other energy sources.

"The cost of solar energy has fallen by more than 50-percent just in the last 2 1/2 years. We still have a long ways to go, but we have achieved a lot," said The DOE's Minh Le.

"What this site does is allow those who are testing new technology, finding new ways to harness the sun for Vermonters -- make it affordable, create jobs and economic opportunities to do that testing right here," Gov. Peter Shumlin said.

Vermont's center will specifically look at the challenges of producing solar energy in northern latitudes where the sun shines less in the winter months and where weather conditions limit the number of sunny days.

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