TexasIsHot – Energy Efficiency

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Dec 19 2011

$12 Million to Spur Rapid Adoption of Solar Energy with the Rooftop Solar Challenge

As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, today Energy Secretary Steven Chu was joined by Lynn Jurich, the president and co-founder of the solar power company SunRun, and Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to announce $12 million in funding for the awardees of the Rooftop Solar Challenge. The Challenge supports 22 regional teams to spur solar power deployment by cutting red tape — streamlining and standardizing permitting, zoning, metering, and connection processes — and improving finance options to reduce barriers and lower costs for residential and small commercial rooftop solar systems. This project is part of the Department’s larger effort to make solar energy more accessible and affordable, increase domestic solar deployment, and position the U.S. as a leader in the rapidly-growing global solar market.

“Through this competition, the Energy Department is helping to unleash America’s solar potential by investing in projects that will make it faster, easier, and cheaper to finance and deploy solar power in communities across the country,” said Secretary Chu. “These awards will reduce the cost homeowners and businesses pay to install solar energy systems, while at the same time saving money and time for local governments faced with tight budgets.”

The DOE SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort to make solar cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Reducing the installed cost of solar energy systems by about 75% will drive widespread large-scale adoption of solar—fortifying U.S. leadership in the global clean energy race while spurring new industries and job creation across the nation.

Non-hardware, or “soft,” costs like permitting, installation, design and maintenance currently account for up to 40 percent of the total cost of installed rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems in the U.S.  Across the nation today, there are more than 18,000 local jurisdictions with their own PV permitting requirements, land use codes and zoning ordinances; more than 5,000 utilities that are implementing standards for connecting and selling energy back to the energy grid; and all 50 states are developing their own connection standards and processes for supplying and pricing energy sold back to the grid. According to a report released earlier this year by SunRun, local permitting and inspection processes alone add about $0.50 per watt, or $2,500 per residential installation nation-wide.

Using a “race to the top” model, the Rooftop Solar Challenge incentivizes the regional awardees to address the differing and expensive permitting, zoning, metering, and connection processes  required to install and finance residential and small business solar systems. The 22 diverse teams bring together city, county, and state officials, regulatory entities, private industry, universities, local utilities and other regional stakeholders to clear a path for rapid expansion of solar energy and serve as models for other communities across the country.

The teams will implement step-by-step actions to standardize permit processes, update planning and zoning codes, improve standards for connecting solar power to the electric grid and increase access to financing.

See the full list of awards HERE

An interactive map of the awardees can be found HERE

Visit the Rooftop Solar Challenge website.

For more information, visit the SunShot Initiative website.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.

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  • "In order to meet our goals, we need programs like the TexasIsHot campaign to help change the way people think about energy." - State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Chairman of Senate Natural Resources Committee
  • "Texas leads the nation in wind power because it makes money, not because it makes us feel better. Texans are a practical, penny-wise people who I think will be happy to learn how to save a few bucks on their power bills with the common-sense advice at TexasIsHot.org."-Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office
  • "If every Texas household adopted just a few of the dozens of energy efficiency strategies referenced on TexasIsHot.org, our air would be cleaner, our limited supply of natural resources would be better protected, and our wallets would be heavier..." Kip Averitt (R-Waco), Former State Senator and Chairman of Senate Committee on Natural Resources
  • ”The TexasIsHot campaign targets an important piece of the clean energy effort -- educating Texans on the way we use electricity and quantifying the financial and environmental costs associated with our use. By just reducing the amount of electricity we use and waste, TexasIsHot.org can show people how to save money..." State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin)
  • "Fluctuating energy costs are really hurting Texas families and businesses, but by just making a few easy changes, Texans can cut down on energy waste. TexasIsHot.org is a tremendous resource which arms consumers with the information they need to save themselves money by becoming more energy efficient, and help our environment." State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston)
  • "Texas is the third fastest growing state in the nation with a net growth of 1,000 people each and every day. This brings many challenges including providing clean and affordable electricity. That is why I'm excited about TexasIsHot.org. This website is an instructional resource that will help Texans save on their energy bills at home and in the workplace..." State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • "Now, more than ever, Texans need to work together to conserve energy and to make more efficient use of the energy we consume. The TexasIsHot.org website is an extraordinary resource for people who want to save money and help conserve our precious natural resources..." State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas)
  • "By partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition we can extend our effort’s reach, leverage our resources, and ensure that Austin’s energy grid continues to be a test-bed for technologies, products, and services that will transform our state’s energy system." Brewster McCracken, Executive Director, Pecan Street Project
  • "The City of Houston is working harder than ever to make Houston green and energy efficient, but we need the help of every citizen. I would encourage everyone to take a moment to explore the TexasIsHot website to learn what we can all do to make Houston, and the rest of Texas, the green and energy efficient example for the rest of the nation." Mayor Annise Parker, Houston
  • "Energy efficiency is one of our top priorities. Partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition will help us educate citizens and local businesses about energy-efficient practices in order to meet our goal of reducing residential and commercial electric use." Gavin Dillingham, Chief of Sustainable Growth – General Services Department, for the City of Houston
  • "We are excited about the new partnership that the City of Corpus Christi has entered into with the TexasIsHot Coalition. TexasIsHot.org provides a platform to educate policy makers, city employees and citizens on how to save money and help the environment by conserving energy..." Mayor Joe Adame, Corpus Christi
  • "I am excited that the City of Corpus Christi has joined the TexasIsHot Coalition and look forward to working with them to help Texans become smarter energy users. Energy efficiency is by far the best way for people to reduce their bills and help the environment, but we need education and outreach to make this happen." State Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr (D-Corpus Christi)
  • "Because of its fast growth and hot summers, Texas has to get smarter about energy conservation. I applaud the efforts of Corpus Christi and TexasIsHot to help businesses and residents reap the benefits of increased efficiency." Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • "Energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest and cheapest way to get smart about energy use, saving both money and the environment. I applaud the TexasIsHot Coalition in their effort to educate Texans about the benefits of energy efficiency..." Luke Metzger, Director, Environment Texas
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