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USA: US Rooftop Solar Competition Offers $10 Million

There was “American Idol,” then “America’s Got Talent,” and now there’s “America’s Most Affordable Rooftop Solar.” It won’t be on TV, but Secretary Steven Chu and the U.S. Energy Department think this new competition, backed by $10 million in prize money, could spur meaningful improvements in low-cost solar power generation.

The competition is part of the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, which also got a boost this week in the form of new investments in 21 projects pointed specifically at improving concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies.

And if that wasn’t enough, Chu, at the Sunshot Grand Summit Challenge in Denver last week, announced up to $8 million in SunShot Incubator money that will go to startups “developing transformative solutions to streamline solar installation processes such as financing, permitting, and inspection.”

The SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.

“Through the SunShot Initiative, we’re tackling the technological, scientific and market barriers facing America’s solar industry to make sure solar power continues to play an important role in our diverse energy mix,” Chu said. “The investments in American start-ups and the new competition announced today further our efforts to seize on the tremendous global market for clean energy technologies, representing hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide.”
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