DOE Aims To Cut Rooftop PV ‘Soft Costs’

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), up to half the cost of a residential rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system can be eaten up in “soft costs,” such as permitting, interconnection and inspection fees. Reducing these non-hardware costs of installations is one of the goals of the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently put $7 million in funding behind the effort.

Since 2007, DOE has invested $60 million in the SunShot Incubator Program for photovoltaics, which has attracted more than $1.3 billion in private investment. Although the Incubator has traditionally focused on hardware, the new funding is meant to complement this summer’s Rooftop Solar Challenge funding opportunity, which will support teams in streamlining interconnection, net metering and permitting standards and process, and creating innovative financing mechanisms for rooftop PV across jurisdictions.

solar panels

image via Shutterstock

The new funding solicitation aims to help applicants develop data-driven software tools to reduce non-hardware costs, such as labor, permitting and inspection, customer acquisition, financing, and contracting. The funding will be awarded in two tiers, to help applicants develop products, and then transition them into full-scale deployment. Concept papers are due by January 16, 2012. More information can be found here.

The overall goal of SunShot is to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional energy sources by the end of the decade.

“Even if you paid nothing for the hardware, you’d still pay thousands of dollars to install a residential solar power system,” Secretary Chu said in a statement. “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.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

1 Comment

  • Reply December 6, 2011

    Sammy Port

    nnCriminal Actions charged against: Dept. Of Energy, FormernWhite House Staff, Goldman Sachs & Associated Parties.nnnu00a0nnnAfter over 5 years of investigation, documents and chargesnare about to be released which will demonstrate a criminal manipulation ofnpublic money and process by a group of associated parties who illegallynrerouted money, stocks and positions of value for personal gain. Those partiesnare shown in the attached chart, the actions of which will be deeply detailednin forthcoming releases. Those parties include: Staff of the U.S. Department ofnEnergy, former White House staff, Goldman Sachs, a group of venture capitalists,nDetroit auto companies and participants at specific technology companies. Thenmanipulations of money exceed many tens of billions of dollars of taxpayernmoney.nnnu00a0nnnAccording to Laurie Bennett of Muckety:nnnu00a0nnnhttp://news.muckety.com/2011/11/16/goldman-sachs-barack-obama-and-the-doe-loan-program/35101nnnu00a0nnnhttp://news.muckety.com/2011/11/17/billionaires-tapped-doe-loan-program/35141nnnu00a0nnnu00a0u201cMore than one Obamanbundler stood to benefit from DOE Guaranteesu201d. The data shows that individualsnfrom both the Bush and the Obama administration engaged in crimes ofncorruption. Ms. Bennett has used scientific and investigative data to chart outnthe inappropriate links between all of the parties involved, examples can benseen at the links above.nnnu00a0nnnAccording to the The Center for Public Integrity, four ofnthe companies in which one bundler: (Westly Group) have invested have receivednmore than $510 million in grants and loans from the Energy Department. CPI hasnuncovered and documented a vast set of indiscretions.nnnu00a0nnnBloomberg News organization has assigned over 15ninvestigators to the story and discovered that the crimes and tactics are sonvast and audacious that an entire new filing system needed to be coordinated.nOne of the more disturbing parts of the reporting is that while some, atnresponsible law enforcement and regulatory agencies, are focused on convictionnefforts, others are focused on cover-up and protection efforts on behalf ofntheir bosses. nnnu00a0nnnGoldman Sachs has been found to have organized, benefittednfrom, paid out to or interceded in the relationships and companies of all ofnthe parties on the attached chart.nnnu00a0nnnThe former White House staff are all commonly known to havenleft the White House at about the same time when they realized they werenexposed in the escapade. Documents, emails and former administrative staff fromnthose parties now provide irrefutable evidence of their involvement. One ofnthem, Mr. Rattner, has already been indicted on securities fraud charges. See:nhttp://corruptiondoe.weebly.comnnnu00a0nnnThe Oversight Committee investigating Solyndra has beennhesitant to expose all of the data being uncovered because that data can putnmembers of both parties in federal prison. Now that a large number of peoplenfrom both parties have been exposed as participants in ill-gotten cash, stocknand position benefits, the inclination, by current groups, to deepen theninvestigations has been slowed. Forthcoming document releases and chargesnfilings are expected to revive those investigations.nnnu00a0nnnIn short; The Bush Administrative created a carve-out of taxndollars for favored associates and assigned Lachlan Seward to manage andncontrol the funds. As the funds were distributed, via falsified due diligencenand lock-out of competing interests, the Obama administration took the fundsnover and redistributed them to their favored friends while still keeping thenfalsified and manipulated due diligence and lock-outs in place. Old deals fromnthe Bush administration were kept in place to buy silence from those partiesnstill around. Goldman Sachs made sure that certain parties and electednofficials got key stock awards (as shown in the recent 60 Minutes expose:nhttp://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/68271.html )and managed the fundingnpackages for the awardees while skimming, nnnhedging and even betting on u201cintended-to-failu201d awardees likenSolyndra and Beacon. All the while making certain that only friends of bundlersngot awards. As of today, the 100% failure of DOE to award to even one Americannsmall technology business applicant makes it overtly obvious that the DOE fundsnwere entirely set-up as payback monies and not domestic innovation or jobncreation monies.nnnu00a0nnnThis is part one of a series of releases that will detailnthe crimes, actions, money routing, benefits and manipulations practiced byneach individual named below, along with certain elected officials. The datanincludes recordings, emails, signed testimony and contractual materials.nnnu00a0nnnCHART OF KEY ACCOMPLICES -nnnu00a0nnnTHE WHITE HOUSE:nnnRobertu00a0 Gibbs; RahmnEmanual; Jonathan Levy; David Axelrod; Steve Rattner; Valarie Jarrett; AndrewnCard, Richard Cheneynnnu00a0nnnDEPARTMENT OF ENERGY:nnnSteven Chu; Lachlan Seward; Brent Petterson; Dan Tobin;nSteve Spinner ; Matt Rogers; Jonathan Silver; Rod Ou2019Conner ; Kathy Zoi; DanielnCohen; Christina Johnson; Scott Harris; David Frantz; Chris Foster; JamesnMarkowsky; Cinthia Andersen; IBM; Argonne National Labs; McKinsey Consulting;nSentech; Debevoise; Midland Services; Technology & Mgmnt. Servicesnnnu00a0nnnGOLDMAN SACHS:nnnLloyd Blankfein; David Viniar; Rajat Gupta; CODA Automotive;nSolyndra; Mark Tercek ; Telsa Motors; Fisker Motors; McKinsey Consulting nnnu00a0nnnVENTURE CAPITAL EXECUTIVES:nnnJohn Doerr; Steve Westly; Alexey Mordashov; BorisnZingarevichnnnu00a0nnnDETROIT CAR COMPANY EXECUTIVES:nnnGM; Ford; Chrysler; Fisker; Tesla; Elon Musk; KathleennHennesseynnnu00a0nnnu00a0nnnu00a0nnn- This document is public domain. Feel free tonredistribute.-nnnu00a0nnnu00a0nnnu00a0nnn

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