As part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SunShot Initiative, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has released up to $7 million for efforts intended to reduce the non-hardware costs of residential and commercial solar energy installations.
Made available through the SunShot Incubator Program, this funding will support the development of tools and approaches that reduce non-hardware – or ‘soft’ – costs, such as installation, permitting, interconnection and inspection. These expenses can amount to up to half of the cost of residential systems, according to the DOE.
‘Even if you paid nothing for the hardware, you'd still pay thousands of dollars to install a residential solar power system,’ Chu pointed out. ‘This SunShot Initiative will help reduce costs such as permitting and installation, and spur American innovation to deploy solar energy at homes and businesses across the country.’
This effort is designed to complement the SunShot Initiative's Rooftop Challenge, which supports innovative approaches to information technology systems, local zoning and building codes, and regulations in order to simplify and expedite permitting processes. The new solicitation seeks applicants that will develop data-driven software tools, streamlined processes and innovative approaches, to reduce non-hardware cost.