As solar hardware costs continue to fall, soft costs are comprising an increasingly larger portion of total PV system costs. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has made it a strategic priority to address these costs, and this morning announced $21 million in funding for two programs to this end.
$13 million of this funding will go to state governments to address soft costs and market barriers through strategic energy and economic planning. The funding will be used to provide technical support and to assist in the creation of partnerships between states and utilities.
DOE says that capacity limits at the state level are an issue that it seeks to partially alleviate. Many states do not have the knowledge, time, or staff resources needed to develop a robust solar deployment strategy, declared DOE in a press statement.
The remaining $8 million will support the second round of the Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS) program, which will partner researchers with data and energy experts to look at how solar technologies, the grid and the solar marketplace supports or inhibits the growth of solar.