Solar Energy Research Institute and Regional Solar Energy Centers:

Impediments to Their Effective Use

EMD-80-106: Published: Aug 18, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1980.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

The Department of Energy (DOE) has designated its Solar Energy Research Institute and Regional Solar Energy Centers as lead institutions for solar development and commercialization. Confusion and conflicts have existed over the roles of the Institute and the Regional Centers in the solar program.

DOE has failed to assign to the Institute and the Regional Centers the responsibilities necessary to achieve their lead roles, and there have been conflicts between the Institute and the Centers over responsibilities for commercialization efforts.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should take actions to ensure that the Institute and the Regional Centers are effectively integrated into the Federal solar program. At a minimum, the Secretary should use the Institute and Regional Centers as its lead institutions for solar energy development and commercialization, as intended. As part of this action, the Secretary should assign tasks and responsibilities to these entities that are consistent with their lead institution roles. Particular attention should be given to the leadership role in solar commercialization in view of the confusion which now exists. The Secretary should improve the planning process for developing the Institute's and the Regional Centers' activities. Improving the process should entail the development of more timely and clear guidance for these organizations which would permit the development of plans by the Institute and Regional Centers which meet established schedules and the needs of DOE. Some flexibility should be incorporated into the planning process to permit the Regional Centers to undertake activities to address specific regional solar commercialization needs. The Secretary should also ensure that multiyear plans are satisfactorily developed this year to provide needed stability to the Institute and the Regional Centers. Finally, the Secretary should monitor the effectiveness of the Department's reorganization of its solar program with regard to integrating the Institute and the Regional Centers into the Federal solar program and using them as lead institutions.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Mar 20, 2018

Mar 14, 2018

Feb 28, 2018

Feb 16, 2018

Feb 6, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Dec 7, 2017

Nov 14, 2017

Nov 1, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here