Yesterday (March 4) the Department of Energy announced the final rules for its SunShot Prize: Race to 7-Day Solar challenge. The challenge, as implied by the name, aims to help people install solar faster by speeding up the process of going solar significantly. Currently in some places in the U.S. it can take up to 180 days—half a year!—for a home or business to go solar because of all the steps a proposed solar installation must go through before it’s approved in some jurisdictions.
“Despite tremendous gains in deployment and steady cost reductions for solar technologies, the process to install a solar energy system remains time-consuming and complex due to high non-hardware ‘soft costs,’ which currently make up more than half the cost of a solar energy system,” the DOE stated.
“Today, the time it takes to complete even a small residential photovoltaic project can vary widely—anywhere from a few days to six months,” the DOE stated. “On average, each additional day it takes to connect a new PV system represents about $4 million of lost electricity generation at America's expected 2015 deployment levels.” Hence, there’s a lot of money that can be gained by speeding up the process.
The challenge aims to reduce all that time—and it’s possible—down to seven days. As a bonus the winner and second-place winner of the contest will receive $3 million and $1 million, respectively. The DOE’s SunShot Initiative, will award $10 million through the challenge.
The competitions, there are two stages, will challenge local governments, businesses, nonprofits, utilities, and communities to come up with solutions that greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to install solar power systems up to 100 kilowatts in size to seven days and the amount of time for systems up to 1 megawatt in size to seven weeks.
Under the contest SunShot will provide up to $100,000 in seed funding to up to 20 teams to participate in the 18-month contest that begins in September 2015. During that time the teams must deploy at least 10 megawatts of systems up to 100 kilowatts or 15 megawatts of systems up to 1 megawatt. The best scores will be given to the teams that produce the best scores for repeatability, time performance and replicability.
Teams have until March 22, 2015 to submit a letter of intent.Tweet