Determination of the Respective Roles and Reporting Structure for the Solar Energy Research Institute and the Regional Network

EMD-78-26: Published: Jan 24, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 24, 1978.

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A recent GAO report expressed concern about the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) and the rather arbitrary basis for establishing the regional SERI network; it was felt that the need for SERI and the regional network should be evaluated prior to the establishment of their respective roles. The creation of SERI was authorized on October 26, 1974, by the Solar Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1974. Congress intended SERI to serve as a focal point for solar energy research and development functions, but it is not clear if it also intended the SERI focal point role to apply to commercialization activities. Under the act and its legislative history, the Secretary of Energy has sufficient latitude to focus the SERI functions on research and development and to give the regional centers separate responsibility for commercialization activities. He could also allow other options; one option considered has been designating Department of Energy headquarters or the Midwest Research Institute as the focal point for the regional network's activities. Separately focused roles for SERI and the regional network could lead to fragmentation and lack of coordination.

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