The U.S. Department of Energy has made renewable sources one of the main focuses of its agenda and regulatory framework. As a result, the agency that regulates the nation’s energy infrastructure has made it a priority to bring the cost of going solar to a level that would make it competitive with conventional fossil fuel energy.

This effort, called the SunShot Initiative, consists of several programs designed to incentivize utilities, researchers and engineers to make solar power affordable for more people. The Initiative was started in 2011, and since then has launched many programs aimed at reducing the cost of solar by 75 percent and bringing it to “grid parity” – the price at which it reaches a level cost with fossil fuel – by 2020.

One of the main aspects is the SunShot Prize, a $10 million reward that will be given to engineering and research teams who can come up with a way to lower the cost of rooftop solar  – specifically non-hardware factors such as permitting, installation and connection with the grid – to roughly $1 per watt of capacity.

A recent report by researchers at UC Berkeley states that, if the Initiatives goals are met, solar power could provide a third of the energy demands of the Western U.S.

Currently, homeowners and businesses can take advantage of the benefits of Bay Area solar through government incentive programs that make it not just affordable to purchase or lease a PV system, but practical as well. For more information, contact West Coast Solar.