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The establishment of the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) reflects a public assessment of the importance of solar energy as a nonpolluting, enduring source of energy and Congressional desire for activity in solar energy comparable with that which the nation has supported for the last 25 years in nuclear energy.

Establishment of a Solar Energy Research Institute makes recommendations for the role and direction for research of the SERI. According to this book, SERI will indeed fill an urgent need for a central intellectual and technical resource on all phases of solar energy. SERI should go beyond establishing a program for its own activities in energy research and development to provide a sound by imaginative view of the entire solar-energy field. In conducting this program, in collaboration with industry, government, universities, and other participants in the national scene SERI can make a major contribution to the early, efficient, and economic exploitation of solar energy.

The book further explores the role of SERI in combining technical, economic, sociological, and environmental analyses of changing energy resources and societal demands, including the need for commodities whose manufacture requires much energy. It finds that this broad assessment and analysis is essential not only for efficient utilization of the resources represented by SERI but also for support of the national program in solar energy. The book sets forth three goals for SERI that mutually support and reinforce one another:

  1. Improve our technical and analytical tools for solar energy and related fields
  2. Provide sound assessments of status and options for policy for solar energy
  3. Facilitate in a collaborative, educational, and supportive role the widespread introduction of commercially attractive and environmentally acceptable solar-energy sources.

The recommendations of Establishment of Solar Energy Research Institute are intended to represent a new model for harnessing science, technology, and analysis in the service of the nation.

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 1975. Establishment of a Solar Energy Research Institute. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

56 pages |  DOI:

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