The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) has received a grant of $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to launch a major effort at reducing the soft costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. The grant, which was funded by the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, will be used to create a program aimed at standardizing and streamlining the installation process in a number of ways.

The soft costs of solar are defined as those expenses other than hardware, including permitting, design, construction, labor and grid connection. Because solar panel prices have already fallen dramatically in the last decade, one of the keys to further reductions in solar PV is to lower those other expenses.

“There remain considerable ongoing barriers to scaling up solar in California, in large part resulting from inconsistencies among jurisdictions for project planning, permitting and utility interconnection,” Len Hering, CCSE’s Executive Director, said in a press release. “CCSE is proud to support the development of greater consistency and efficiency in the deployment of clean solar energy in California.”

One aspect of CCSE’s program will be to enter into discussions with municipalities and local governments to bridge gaps in terms of the permitting process. Different areas have their own processes for applying for permits, which results in higher system costs. By unifying and standardizing permitting, Bay Area solar installers will be able to start construction on PV systems more quickly.

West Coast Solar has been successful in reducing the cost of solar installation by offering our customers leasing options with no down payment. If you’re interested in financing your solar panel system, contact us today for more information.