SunShot Initiative - Rooftop Solar Challenge


CSE led the Rooftop Solar Challenge (RSC) to help make solar photovoltaic (PV) installations more affordable and accessible by reducing the associated soft or nonhardware costs. Through RSC, a component of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, we worked with local governments, industry stakeholders and utilities to help make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before 2020.

CSE led the Golden State Solar Impact (GSSI) program team to implement innovative cost-reduction strategies and best practices that accelerate PV adoption. Through stakeholder facilitation and engagement, GSSI’s cost-reduction strategies focus on three target areas: streamlining permitting, facilitating financing and simplifying interconnection.



Rooftop Solar Challenge Impacts

386 California cities and counties

Developed standardized documents for expediting solar permitting adopted by more than 70 percent of California municipalities.

Worldwide distribution

Published the California Solar Permitting Guidebook, the nation’s first state-mandated solar permitting document that has been downloaded by web visitors from over 400 cities in 27 states and 19 countries.

130 trainings

CSE provided training to more than 130 jurisdictions and solar organizations through workshops and webinars reaching over 1,000 individuals throughout California.

Program at a Glance

Program Goals

Increase installation of solar PV by reducing the soft costs associated with permitting, interconnection and financing

CSE's Role

Lead for Golden State Solar Impact (GSSI) program team


Distributed Energy Resources

Key Partners

Optony Inc., California Governor’s Office for Planning and Research, Energy Policy Initiatives Center at University of San Diego, Energy Solutions

State Policies Supported

Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, California AB 2188

Impact Statement

Developed and published materials and online tools on solar permitting, ordinances, financing, policies and implementation