A plug-and-play PV system is envisioned as a consumer friendly solar technology that uses an automatic detection system to initiate communication between the solar energy system and the utility when plugged into a PV-ready circuit. | Photo by iStock.
If you have a home computer, you have probably used plug-and-play technology to install new hardware like printers or web cams. Many of today’s smart phones also incorporate this technology. You simply connect the new device to launch an automatic configuration process and, within minutes, your system is set up and ready to go.
The SunShot Initiative is now aiming to bring that same ease of installation to residential photovoltaic (PV) solar systems. In the future, installing a solar array for your home could be as easy as plugging in common household appliances, which are purchased, installed and operational in one day. The goal is to simply plug the new system into a PV-ready circuit to initiate an automatic detection system that would connect your system with your local utility. In just one day, you are able to start powering your home with renewable solar electricity.
The Energy Department is investing up to $5 million this year to develop plug-and-play PV technology that will make this vision a reality, making the process of buying, installing and connecting energy systems faster, easier and less expensive for American homeowners and families. Under the Plug-and-Play Photovoltaics initiative announced today, up to two awardees will receive support to design a market-ready PV system that could fundamentally change the design and installation of residential PV systems.
This effort is part of the Department’s broader strategy to reduce the non-hardware or “soft” costs of solar, from installation, permitting and interconnection to electronics and mounting hardware. As the costs of solar PV modules continue to come down, soft costs and other non-module hardware costs now account for more than half of the total cost of home solar systems.
Check out more on the Department’s SunShot Initiative HERE and learn about how we’re working to reduce the cost of solar energy by 75% by the end of the decade, making it cost competitive with other forms of American energy.