Written By: Emma Websdale
As part of the Obama administration’s efforts to double renewable electricity generation by 2020, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded US$12 million in grants to eight organizations in attempt to provide 150 million Americans with solar.
Under the second round of the DoE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge –an initiative aiming to empower local US governments to make it easier, faster and cheaper for Americans to go solar, eight companies, universities and non-profits have been awarded grants to become part of the challenge.
Recipients of the second year of the challenge includes: Florida’s Broward County, the City University of New York, California Centre for Sustainable energy, the Washington State Department of Commerce, Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), Clean Energy States Alliances, Iowa Economic Development Authority and Optony Inc. were all
The eight recipients will use the $12 million, which will be matched by over $4 million in outside funding to develop and replicate solutions to standardize solar permitting, zoning, metering and to secure cheaper bulk purchasing of solar energy.
“Today, solar modules cost about one percent of what they did 35 years ago, and permitting and interconnection are an increasingly large portion of overall solar system costs”, says Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Through the Rooftop Solar Challenge, the Energy Department is helping to make the deployment of solar power in communities across the country faster, easier and cheaper – saving money and time for local governments, homeowners and businesses.”
Gathering together city, county and state officials, regulatory entities, regional stakeholders, private industries, universities and local utilities, the Rooftop solar challenge aims to tackle the differing and expensive processes required to install and fund residential and small business solar systems across states.
During its first round, where 22 regional teams worked together, soft fees for solar energy were reduced by over 10% with permitting time reduced by 40%. Moving forward, teams in the second round aim to build upon this momentum, driving further soft-cost reductions to help more American families gain access to solar energy.
To see a full list of the Rooftop Solar Challenge teams and their projects, you can visit the website here.