Launched by the Department of Energy in February 2011, the SunShot Initiative was designed to make solar energy cost-competitive by 2020. In 2010, the cost of one solar watt was $3.80. The SunShot project was attempting to reduce solar costs to $1 per watt or $0.06 per kilowatt-hour, an almost 75% decrease in the 2010 cost. Many perceived […]
The solar industry received a holiday gift this year in the form of the extension of the ITC. But we aren’t entirely out of the woods. Numerous threats to NEM and rate cases at dozens of utilities across the nation stand to fundamentally change the value of solar. Already, Nevada has retroactively eliminated its NEM program as […]
Our third Solar Women Summer Series interview (powered by RenewableEnergyWorld.com) features Pamela Cargill, Principal at Chaolysti, a strategic consulting firm that helps residential solar installers operate more effectively. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chaolysti aims to massively scale the deployment of residential solar by deploying programs and strategies that aggressively lower “soft costs”—the non-hardware costs of […]
The Battle to Reduce Solar’s “Soft Costs” is Starting and How it Can Increase Your Solar Company’s Profits
The solar industry is going through massive change. Module and balance and systems prices are dropping quickly, there has been an influx of new products, financing is becoming commoditized and the solar supply chain is shifting rapidly.
The results of these trends are two-fold: 1) bringing down the hard installation costs and 2) removing the financial bottlenecks in the system. Lower costs and easier financing equals more projects and faster industry growth. However, with the room to squeeze hard costs getting tougher, companies are now looking at other ways to decrease their costs in order to increase profits. One of the areas has been streamlining incentives and permitting paperwork.
Many reports have detailed ways the solar industry is drowning in huge amounts of paperwork.
The battle to reduce soft costs is being fought on many fronts. First, local governments, in Vermont for example, are working on creating more streamlined incentives and interconnection processes. The DOE has also launched a project to decrease solar’s soft costs. Several companies are looking to address this issue with software. OnGrid Solar, Clean Power Finance, Eagle Eye and SolarNEXUS all seem to be addressing the issue from many angles.
I reached out to SolarNEXUS to get their thoughts on how companies can reduce soft costs to increase their profitability. Read past the break to read the full story and watch the interview. Join HeatSpring’s facebook community to stay up to date with future updates.