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Soft Costs

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative’s soft costs program works to lower the non-hardware costs of solar and accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies throughout the United States. In support of the SunShot Initiative goals, the soft costs program works in the following strategic areas: networking and technical assistance, data analysis, business innovation, and training.

Soft Costs Activity Areas, Business Innovation, Networking and Technical Assistance, Training, and Data Analysis

The soft or “plug-in” costs of solar account for as much as 64% of the total cost of a new solar system. These barriers are often the result of a lack of information needed to do a job or make a decision. These information gaps can slow market growth or prevent market access.

Soft Cost breakdown infographic

Through the data analysis and technical solutions programs, SunShot examines the reasons why people go solar and addresses the challenges to solar deployment.

Through innovative solar training programs, SunShot supports the workforce needs of the rapidly growing solar industry. Solar industry employment increased by 20% since November 2014, which is almost twelve times the national average job growth rate.

These training programs are bolstered by an impressive set of business innovation solutions that accelerate market growth and support new and emerging solar business models like community and shared solar.

Finally, SunShot’s technical assistance programs support state and local governments as they develop plans to deploy more solar energy in order to meet the goals of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. This work ensures that solar power becomes affordable and accessible for more Americans every day. 

Learn more about SunShot's soft costs funding programs

View the Soft Costs Fact Sheet (PDF)