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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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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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