US SunShot program unveils $10 million rooftop PV competition

A total of US$10 million will be awarded to the first 3 teams, which can "repeatedly" demonstrate an around 65% reduction in photovoltaic soft costs – including permitting, licensing and grid connection – in order to bring them down to as little as $1/W for small-scale rooftop systems. Overall, SunShot’s goal is to reduce soft costs to $0.60/W by 2020.

Participants will have to go through 2 phases until 2015 in order to be eligible for the prize money. The first expects to see the teams installing 5,000 2 to 15 kW rooftop photovoltaic systems with soft costs averaging $1/W, while the second will see an additional 1,000 deployed "to assess the business sustainability". $7 million and the "Winner of America’s Most Affordable Rooftop Solar prize" will be awarded to first place, while the second and third place winners will receive $2 million and $1 million, respectively.

"By breaking a significant price barrier that was considered unachievable only a decade ago, the winning teams will demonstrate that solar energy is an affordable solution for American families and businesses," said the department in a statement released.