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Up On The Rooftop, DOE Seeks More Solar Savings

President Obama’s support for massive solar energy projects on public lands infuriates some dedicated environmentalists who insist the emphasis should be put on developing rooftop and other urban opportunities. But the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative provides a steady stream of evidence that the administration actually isn’t putting all its eggs into the centralized power station basket.

The latest reminder of this comes in the form of an announcement of a new round of funding – worth up to $12 million – for the Rooftop Solar Challenge. This is the program in which local and regional government teams compete for funds to help eliminate administrative barriers to residential and small commercial photovoltaic solar installations.
Residential Solar

image via Sun Run

Tons of research has shown that market barriers and high non-hardware balance of system costs (also known as “soft costs”) are slowing down the spread of solar in the United States.

A 2011report from SunRun estimated that local permitting and inspection processes add 50 cents per watt, which doesn’t sound like much until you consider that translates to $2,500 for a typical 5-kilowatt home system.


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