The soft costs of solar power, like permitting, inspecting and commissioning, continue to be the most resistant to coming down in most of the US. While the costs of solar panels are 80 percent less than they were in 2009, the soft costs of solar have remained stagnant and represent the biggest opportunity for significant cost reductions.
That’s why the Department of Energy announced today (Oct. 20) that it would invest $21.4 million through the SunShot Initiative to fund 17 new projects aimed at reducing such soft costs. Nine of the awards are focussed on supporting solar growth in low- and moderate-income communities. The others are focussed on strategic energy and economic planning at the state and regional levels.
"Soft costs have been a pervasive barrier to widespread solar energy in the United States," said Dr. Charlie Gay, director of DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. "Finding new ways to cut these costs remains critical in accelerating solar deployment nationwide and making solar affordable for all Americans."
The nine grants will support the second round of the initiative’s Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS) program. They increase understanding of how and why homeowners and businesses choose solar energy through partnering researchers with data and energy experts. The second round of SEEDS will include research into low- and moderate-income (LMI) solar adoption and institutional decision-making.
The other awards go to the initiative’s State Energy Strategies (SES) program. The SES program is working with state energy offices, regional energy providers, and their partners across 17 states. The eight new awards will help states understand how to more effectively adopt solar. They’re focussed on creating solar deployment targets, identifying strategies to achieve goals and implementing the strategies.Tweet