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SunShot Initiative - Rooftop Solar Challenge

Working with local governments, industry stakeholders and utilities, CSE is helping make solar photovoltaic (PV) installations more affordable and accessible by reducing the associated soft, or nonhardware, costs. The effort is part of the Rooftop Solar Challenge (RSC), a component of the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, that aims to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before 2020. 

Reducing the cost of solar

The SunShot Initiative aims to reduce the total installed cost of solar energy systems to $.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by 2020. Today, SunShot is 60% of its way toward achieving its program goal, only three years into the program's 10-year timeline. 

Since SunShot's launch in 2011, the average price of utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) projects has dropped from about $0.21 to $0.11 per kWh. 

Leading the way to a brighter future

As part of the RSC, CSE leads the Golden State Solar Impact (GSSI) program team that is composed of three partner organizations: Optony Inc., California Governor’s Office for Planning and Research and CSE. The program’s strategy is to build upon and implement innovative cost-reduction strategies and best practices that accelerate PV adoption. 

SunShot focus areas

GSSI’s cost-reduction strategies focus on three target areas in solar.

  • Permitting – Facilitating the Governor’s Solar Permitting Working Group, a network of local governments, solar stakeholders and regulators to create an expedited solar permitting process and structural system guidelines. 
  • Financing – Convening regional financing committees comprised of clean energy financing stakeholders – local governments, financing institutions, contractors and property owners – to increase understanding of clean energy financing programs. In addition, CSE developed online tools to increase awareness and promote the availability of financing products and leads webinars to assist local governments in dealing with clean energy issues. 
  • Interconnection – The GSSI is working to facilitate an online utility interconnection platform for the state’s utilities, expediting the process of connecting a PV system to the electrical grid.

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