The next generation for solar technology development received a huge boost from the U.S. Department of Energy on Monday. $22.7 million was awarded to 23 new solar projects, targeting to significantly reduce the costs of solar installations, and allow for a variety of new solar technologies to become available. These projects focus on improving photovoltaics, grid monitoring, tracking systems, storage integration, and power electronics.
There were more than 785,000 solar projects across the U.S. in the second quarter of 2015. However, these new private sector solar projects are also aimed at helping the domestic solar industry grow, creating new jobs and increase U.S. solar energy manufacturing. The new 23 solar projects were funded under a technology to market program, which combined three historical and separate funding programs; SunShot, SolarMaT (Solar Manufacturing Technology), and SUNPATH.
Under the technology to market funding program, these new solar projects not only give the U.S. the opportunity to impact solar markets domestically and globally, but empowered SunShot’s initiative in making solar energy completely cost-competitive by 2020. The program is currently taking applications for a second round of proposed solar projects. You can learn more about the new 23 solar projects awarded by visiting energy.gov.
One of the newly awarded solar projects went to Sunrun, a national solar installer, and Clean Power Research. The organizations are trial testing an automated permitting software. Permitting can be a time consuming aspect for solar installation, mostly because there are about 18,000 building permit agencies in the U.S. and many of them have their own application process and rules. For the most part, permitting a solar installation for customers who wish to go solar is costly and adds four weeks or more to the customer’s solar installation time. The goal of this automated software is to cut this time in half, thus saving time and money on solar installations.