As part of a continued solar power initiative, the Department of Energy announced $12 million in new funding for streamlining and standardizing local permitting, zoning, metering, and connection process efforts in residential and small commercial rooftop solar systems.
The funding opportunity, called Rooftop Solar Challenge II, is part of the SunShot Initiative, which is an effort to support solar power growth. The funding helps make financing and installing solar energy systems more practical and the overall process more user-friendly for American consumers and businesses.
The recently announced funding builds on the successful Rooftop Solar Challenge. During the first challenge, which was announced in 2011, various regional teams worked to reduce the non-hardware or soft costs, which can make up 40 percent of solar costs. These reductions included standardizing installation and permitting fees across multiple jurisdictions, establishing group-purchasing discounts, and expanding online permitting.
With Rooftop Solar Challenge II, the Energy Department hopes to improve upon the most successful and effective projects from the first Rooftop Solar challenge and to also continue developing innovative was to reduce solar costs related to permitting, installation, and interconnection. The new round of funding is set to support two-and-a-half year projects led by teams nation-wide who have already demonstrated plans for streamlining and standardizing local soft-costs. Those teams will also be asked to develop these plans, tools, and standards for large-scale solar initiatives.
The SunShot initiative is a national effort to make solar energy costs comparative with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.
Find more information about the Rooftop Solar Challenge II here.