This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 19, 2014

Energy Department Awards $2.2 Million to Lower Costs of Solar Energy

The Energy Department on March 10 announced funding totaling $2.2 million for three California projects to help lower the costs of solar electricity and increase deployment nationwide. As part of the eighth round of the SunShot Incubator Program, the Energy Department is investing in three California-based small businesses to continue driving down both the hardware and non-hardware “soft costs” of solar, such as permitting and installation.

The projects include:

  • SolarNexus, Inc. of Berkeley will receive nearly $497,000 to build the industry’s first integrated ecosystem of software apps that allows disparate software tools to work together, allowing solar contractors and others in the residential and commercial solar markets to install solar at a lower cost.

  • Genability of San Francisco will receive $1 million to generate a comparison report that determines the optimum payment plan for solar customers using an analysis of projected versus actual solar savings and a monthly savings statement.

  • CelLink Corporation of Belmont will receive $704,000 to create a new circuit that will be used to build high-efficiency solar panels. By using less expensive materials and processes, this new circuit could reduce the costs of manufacturing these silicon photovoltaic modules by 10%.

The utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) industry is more than 60% of the way to achieving SunShot’s target of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. In the United States, the average price for a utility-scale PV project has dropped from about $0.21 per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to $0.11 per kilowatt-hour at the end of 2013. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. electricity price is about $0.12 per kilowatt-hour. See the Energy Department news release.