Department of Energy Awards $2.5 million to Reduce Costs for Solar PV Installations

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While real energy savings are being generated by solar photovoltaics markets in the U.S. and many American homeowners are excited about reducing their electrical costs, most of them lack funds to install the units on their roofs. Consequently, the DOE is funding a program to reduce the costs of solar PV installations.

The grant calls for a scalable national platform to develop model codes, standards, rules and processes that reduce deployment times and costs for solar PV installations. SolarTech, a non-profit industry consortium and the lead group in the award, proposes to remove non-hardware and process-related cost barriers through their program called Solar 3.0 – A National Platform for Process Innovation to Deliver PV.

It is intended that the result will be a national standard for all solar PV installations. This national standard will cover local land use, zoning code ordinances, permitting processes and interconnection rules for distributed PV. SolarTech will build upon existing DOE work and will develop and promote widespread adoption of best-in-class tools for permitting, inspection and interconnection.

Seventeen members make up the Solar 3.0 Team. These are national, regional and industry partners: Underwriters Laboratories (UL), UL University (ULU), International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI), Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), the VoteSolar Initiative, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), SRA/International, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), East Bay Green Corridor (EBGC), Solar Sonoma County (SSC), along with industry partners SunPower, Mainstream Energy, Burnham Energy, OnGrid Solar, SolarNexus, and the Sierra Club. SolarTech will guide the project at all levels.

Further goals include creating new jobs, saving existing jobs and spurring economic development in communities nationwide. The goals are to reduce non-hardware balance of system (BOS) costs by 50% by 2014.

IAEI is very pleased to participate with SolarTech, UL and fifteen other industry partners in this platform aimed at reducing deployment times and costs for solar PV installations. IAEI has long been a proponent of harvesting energy through solar photovoltaics.

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dclements@iaei.org'
David Clements is CEO/Executive Director of IAEI. He has been an active IAEI member at the local, section and national levels for more than twenty-five years. He served as international board member from 1995 until 2007 when he served as our 2007 international president. In 2010, he retired after twenty-nine years with Nova Scotia Power, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as their chief electrical inspector. During his tenure as chief electrical inspector, he was a voting member on the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Technical Committee on the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, a member of the Regulatory Authority Committee and member of the Canadian Advisory Committee on Electrical Safety. He has served on NFPA Smart Grid Steering Committee, Electrical Infrastructure Training Program and is presently a member of the UL Electrical Council.