The US Department of Energy announced $21.4 million in funding on Thursday to reduce ‘soft costs’ for new solar projects in an attempt to speed solar adoption.
One of the barriers found in the adoption of solar energy is what are commonly known as “soft costs” — costs such as installation, permitting, and grid connection. Solar hardware continues to see declines, but the soft costs continue to remain a barrier to entry. Subsequently, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $21.4 million in funding on Thursday through its SunShot Initiative intended to help reduce the soft costs of solar projects. Specifically, 9 of the projects which received funding are set to look at how the solar industry can sustain and accelerate the growth of the solar industry by “understanding the motivations and factors that influence the technology adoption process.” The remaining 8 projects will tackle solar market challenges at the state and regional levels.
“Soft costs have been a pervasive barrier to widespread solar energy in the United States,” said Dr. Charlie Gay, Director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office. “Finding new ways to cut these costs remains critical in accelerating solar deployment nationwide and making solar affordable for all Americans.”
The collection of 9 projects will fall under the Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS) program, and is the second round of funding under this program. According to the DOE, the new projects,
“…will partner researchers with data and energy practitioners to create, analyze, and use solar data and other information in order to examine how solar technologies, the electric grid system, and the institutions that create the solar business marketplace support or inhibit the evolution and diffusion of solar technologies.”
The remaining 8 projects fall under the State Energy Strategies (SES) program, which provide project teams from around the country with the necessary planning insights needed for their research. Specifically, the 8 new projects “will help to better inform states how to more effectively adopt solar by providing technical and analytical assistance to help them meet their renewable energy goals.”
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