In this episode, we talk with Dr. Lidija Sekaric about ways to disrupt an industry and leveraging government resources. Lydia has held a number of progressive positions within the Department of Energy over the last eight years. As a Director, Deputy Director, and Group Manager in the SunShot Initiative, Lidija managed a portfolio of $1B in project funding in solar research and development. She helped drive the near and long-term solar program strategy, out-year budgets, and new initiatives.
As a Senior Technical Advisor for the Under Secretary for Energy, Lidija oversaw strategic projects involving $4B in renewables, fossil, nuclear and grid technologies at the Department of Energy.
In our discussion, we focus on the significant progress made under the SunShot Initiative. When SunShot was launched in 2011, it set a goal for solar energy to become cost-competitive with traditional forms of electricity by 2020 without subsidies. This goal set cost targets at $0.09 per kilowatt hour for residential photovoltaics (PV), $0.07 per kilowatt hour for commercial PV, and $0.06 per kilowatt hour for utility-scale PV. In May 2016, SunShot released a series of eight research papers that examined the progress made toward the SunShot’s goals. It found that, just five years into the initiative, the solar industry had already achieved 70% of the progress toward the 2020 goals, spurring the department to determine new targets beyond 2020.
We talk with Lidija about the innovations behind their success and where they had to pivot in order to hit their goals in an increasingly volatile political environment.
Learn more about the Department of Energy's Sunshot Initiative
Speaking of Home Towns...here's Lydia's
Most Gifted Books: Anything by Barbara Kingsolver