DOE invests $21 million to speed solar adoption

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $21.4 million to fund nine new research projects designed to reduce the soft costs involved with solar installation and eight projects to focus on dealing with state- and regional-level solar market challenges.

While the costs of solar equipment — panels, inverters and racking, among others — keep going down, often at startling rates, the soft costs (installation, permitting, and connecting to the grid, for example) have stubbornly resisted attempts to bring them down. With 50 separate states and 39,044 general purpose local governments, standardizing the processes is difficult.

“Soft costs have been a pervasive barrier to widespread solar energy in the United States,” said Dr. Charlie Gay, director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office. “Finding new ways to cut these costs remains critical in accelerating solar deployment nationwide and making solar affordable for all Americans.”

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