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Clean Power sunshot cost goals

Published on April 26th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

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US DOE Boosting Plug-and-Play Solar with SunShot Initiative



The latest announcement from the US Department of Energy (DOE) is that it’s giving a $5 million boost to the development of “plug-and-play” solar power systems — “photovoltaic (PV) systems that can be purchased, installed and operational in one day.” The $5 million will go to two projects. The DOE is also requesting another $20 million from Congress over the next four years to encourage the development of such technology.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu made the announcement this week.

“The Department’s announcement today supporting plug-and-play solar energy technologies will help make it easier and cheaper for consumers to adopt clean, affordable solar energy, while supporting U.S. manufacturing leadership in the next generation of clean energy technologies and diversifying America’s energy portfolio,” Chu said on Tuesday.

The DOE website adds: “This effort is part of the Department’s broader strategy to spur solar power deployment by reducing non-hardware, or “soft” costs, such as installation, permitting, and interconnection, which currently amount to more than half of the total cost of residential systems. The funding will help drive innovations to fundamentally change the design and installation of residential PV systems, reducing costs for homeowners and simplifying installations and grid connectivity.”

These soft costs and non-module costs (i.e. electronics and mounting hardware) now account for over half the cost of a solar PV system. Bringing them down is seen by many as the most low-hanging fruit today.

sunshot cost goals

Learn more about the SunShot Initiative or the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy on the US DOE website.

Source: DOE.
Images: solar power plug-and-play system via Shutterstock; Sunshot chart via DOE 

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Beatrice Dorsett

    I’m trying to find out if there is an organization or business who would be willing to allow an impoverished low-income soul to try their solar systems who literally cannot continue bearing the price of the local power company’s greed.  My local power company charges its victims $19.75 as a standard facilities charge even before they use a single watt of power.  Beatrice L. Dorsett – Email:  beatrice.dorsett@gmail.com

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