Seven projects are focused on creating tools and developing methods to reduce the cost of non-hardware components for installed solar energy systems and reducing market barriers. These projects will develop software design tools and databases that can be used by local jurisdictions and installers, and tools to streamline building codes, zoning laws, permitting rules, and business processes for installing solar systems.
On Sept. 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $13.6 million to fund these projects.
Boise State University ($2,820,154)
- Develop an open-source, project planning tool based on geographic information systems that optimizes siting for utility-scale solar developments. The tool will enable users to assess sites based on quantifiable physical characteristics and constraints of the natural resource as well as military, land use, solar resource, water resource, and public acceptance factors.
Clean Power Finance ($3,000,000)
San Francisco, California
- Develop an open-source, online information technology (IT) platform that will consist of a database of PV permitting requirements by the authorities that have jurisdiction, in addition to complementary turnkey IT solutions for installers and electric utility companies
Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism ($750,000)
- Provide technical assistance to the state Public Utilities Commission as it sets statewide technical reliability standards through the form of a technical and policy-solution roadmap. The roadmap aims to resolve grid-reliability issues and reduce commercial business concerns around the integration of renewables, specifically solar, onto the transmission and distribution systems.
Illinois State University ($850,000)
- Design, populate, and maintain a comprehensive national database of utility rates and rate design
Interstate Renewable Energy Council ($3,000,000)
Albany, New York
- Focus on removing technical and administrative barriers to cost-effective interconnection and transmission, expanding market opportunities for solar PV by enabling the availability of net metering, community solar, and solar in wholesale power markets, and incorporating high-penetration PV scenarios into utility planning and operations management
Rocky Mountain Institute ($683,692)
- Accelerate large-scale adoption of solar PV through the creation and adoption of innovative approaches to utility regulation, rate design, and business models that enable high penetration of solar PV onto the utility grid
San Jose, California
- Develop a scalable national platform to develop model codes, standards, rules, and processes that will enable reduced time frames for PV installations and deployment at lower cost
DOE is funding these projects to reach the aggressive goals of the SunShot Initiative.