Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter presented the Governor’s Award for Research Impact in Renewable Energy to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It is one of five awards inaugurated by CO-LABS, a nonprofit organization that educates about and advocates for Colorado’s 24 federal research labs.

NREL was recognized for its contributions to thin-film photovoltaics. Thin films are only a few micrometers thick. They use little or no silicon and can be manufactured at a lower cost and more efficiently than conventional silicon panels. Thin films also can be integrated directly into construction supplies, vehicle fabrics and other materials, offering the potential of new solar energy designs and applications.

NREL is home to the National Center for Photovoltaics, and solar is NREL’s largest, oldest and most-recognized program. NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy-efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC.