California Group Prepares For SunShot Alliance Award


The Northern and Central California SunShot Alliance says it has a sure-fire way to impress in the SunShot Initiative contest: by planning to construct and interconnect rooftop solar systems in one day or less.

The Alliance, which includes Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Co., SolarCity, Qado Energy, Accela, and the City of Livermore, will compete in the small systems category (1 kW to 100 kW) for a first-place prize of $3 million and second-place prize of $1 million.

Sponsored by the SunShot Initiative, the ‘SunShot Prize: Race to 7-Day Solar’ competition aims to spur innovation and improvements in the solar
implementation process. Teams will be judged on their ability to improve process certainty and reduce the"permit-to-plugin," time from the current duration to a swift seven days for small systems.

Teams made up of local governments, solar and technology companies, and electric utilities will compete for a total of $10 million in cash prizes.

The alliance is encouraged because its members are accustomed to working efficiently. For example, the group notes that PG&E interconnects more than 5,000 rooftop solar systems per month, with an average cycle time of less than five days. SolarCity crews are repeatedly able to install rooftop solar systems in less than one day. Accela is the leading provider of permitting and inspection technology and has helped local governments decrease solar permit processing time by 75%. And Qado Energy's integrated platform helps streamline solar interconnection while ensuring process transparency and efficient fulfillment.

According to the alliance, the winnings would be split between the City of Livermore and possibly other jurisdictions that will use the funds to enhance the solar experience in their communities. The alliance is also eligible for the Change Prize Award of $100,000, which will be used to develop necessary technologies and recruit additional jurisdictions to join the team.

The competition will run from Sept. 22, 2015, to March 17, 2017. The winners will be announced in June 2017.

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