Studies on Solar Soft Costs Get $21.4 Million in DOE Funding

Bringing down solar soft costs is key to speeding up the widespread adoption of photovoltaic power, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). To that end, at the beginning of 2016, the department’s SunShot Initiative provided $13 million in state-level funding for research exploring new ways to bring down these expenses.


Now the SunShot Initiative has awarded an additional $21.4 million in funding to tackle challenges in reducing soft costs. This research puts our tax dollars to work to help make solar energy more affordable for all U.S. residents.

What Are Solar Soft Costs?

Soft or indirect costs are considered to be one of the biggest barriers for those interested in solar energy. These expenses can account for as much as 64 percent of the price of a photovoltaic system installation.

What are soft costs? Supply chain costs, installation and labor charges, financing, permitting fees, contractor overhead costs — basically, everything except the solar panels, mounting components and other photovoltaic equipment.

SEEDS Projects on Solar Soft Costs

The $21.4 million SunShot Initiative funding is earmarked for 17 projects aimed at finding new strategies to reduce the costs that prevent more homeowners from investing in photovoltaic power. Nine of these projects are a part of the Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS) program.

The SEEDS projects will examine the solar marketplace structure to determine how photovoltaic technologies, the utility grid and business development may be supporting or hindering solar access.

In this round of SEEDS funding, researchers will pay special attention to two new areas of interest. Some projects will focus on low- and moderate-income solar adoption, looking for ways to get more people in these communities to invest in photovoltaic power. Other studies are geared toward understanding how institutions can influence change within the energy industry.

Studies on Reducing Soft Costs at the State Level

The remaining eight projects the DOE is funding are part of the SunShot Initiative’s State Energy Strategies (SES) program. These studies are expected to help the states meet their renewable energy goals.

The SES projects will study the solar energy planning process to identify how the states can make it easier and more affordable for families to make the switch to photovoltaic power. This research will allow the states to understand the factors influencing solar energy growth, helping them to develop strategies to cut nonhardware expenses and other barriers to adoption.

Intermountain Wind & Solar, serving homeowners and businesses throughout the Intermountain West, is committed to making alternative energy solutions affordable for everyone. IWS offers bulk purchasing and other programs that reduce solar soft costs and make photovoltaic power more affordable for homeowners and businesses throughout Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming.

We’ll answer all of your questions and demonstrate the significant advantages of photovoltaic energy for you. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation, and to learn how we are working to minimize the impact of solar soft costs.

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