Aiming to inspire friendly competition that leads to an overall goal of bettering the solar industry, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot Initiative has launched a new competition, the SunShot Prize. The goal is for competitors to find a way to make installing rooftop solar systems faster, easier and cheaper.
The first three teams that can repeatedly show that non-hardware costs, or price to plug in, can be as low as US$1 per watt for small-scale PV systems on American homes and businesses will win part of the total US$10 million cash award. The target aims to decrease the soft cots of solar energy systems, including permitting, licensing, connection to the grid and other non-hardware costs by over 65%.
During Phase I of the competition, the winning teams will effectively deploy 5,000 small-scale (ranging between 2kW to 15kW) rooftop PV systems with non-hardware costs averaging US$1/W. Phase II will then analyse the business sustainability of the winning teams by calling for the installation of an additional 1,000 qualifying systems. The competition will run through 2015 and see the first place winner receive US$7 million (and become the winner of America’s Most Affordable Rooftop Solar prize), second place receive US$2 million and third place receive US$1 million.
Further information, including registration, can be found here.