Burlington Free Press: New research center aims to energize solar business in the US

Williston center, one of 5 in country, expected to be operational within next few months   WILLISTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., looked on the bright side of Monday’s finger-numbing cold weather at the announcement of a federal solar panel test center coming to Chittenden County. “There’s sun out there to dispel any rumors Vermont doesn’t get sun in the winter,” Sanders joked. The $3 million Regional Test Center, to be built on about seven acres owned by IBM in Williston, would be one of five in the United States. The others are being built in Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Nevada. The Vermont center is expected to be operational in the next few months. The goal of the center, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, is to help find ways to reduce the cost of solar energy by 75 percent by 2020 and generate at least 15 percent of America’s electricity with solar power by 2030. Read more