The US Department of Energy has launched the second round of its Rooftop Solar Challenge.

The US Department of Energy is spending US$12 million on eight teams to find new ways to slash red tape and fast track solar deployment. The teams will also receive US$4 million from outside funding.

The teams will examine the paper trails involved in permitting and grid connection regulations and make them more efficient, streamlining residential and smaller commercial deployment.

Red tape currently accounts for 60% or more of most system costs with 18,000 local jurisdictions, and 5,000 utilities each with its own legislation for installing and connecting solar systems.

The first round of the Rooftop Solar Challenge, launched in 2012, consisted of 22 regional teams who cut installation time by 40% and costs by 12%. 

“The Energy Department is helping to make the deployment of solar power in communities across the country faster, easier and cheaper – saving money and time for local governments, homeowners and businesses,” said energy secretary, Ernest Moniz.

The Rooftop Solar Challenge is part of the Sunshot Initiative to make solar affordable, accessible and price competitive with fossil fuels, and will help to meet the national clean energy generation target for 2020.

The Rooftop Solar Challenge will bring various groups, local and national, together to champion quick easy and cheaper solar installations.

The eight teams will be: Broward County, California Centre for Sustainable energy, City University of New York, Clean Energy States Allowance, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Mid America Regional Council, Optony Inc and Washington State Department of Commerce.