As part of the Southwest Solar Transformation Initiative (SSTI), SEI and Optony will drive market maturity across the Southwest, where solar potential is abundant, but municipal resources and industry information are scarce. As part of SSTI, SEI will work with and direct university student research teams in the southwest region, and engage regional councils of governments and their municipal members in the San Joaquin Valley of California, and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah. The aim of the Rooftop Solar Challenge is to cut red tape by “streamlining and standardizing permitting, zoning, metering and connection processes – and improving finance options to reduce barriers and lower costs for residential and smaller commercial rooftop solar systems.”
“We are honored to be one of the twenty-two teams selected nationally to assist the U.S. Department of Energy in addressing the real and perceived barriers that prevent our communities from enjoying the environmental and economic benefits of solar power,” said Cyane Dandridge, Executive Director for SEI. On December 1, 2011, the U.S. DOE approved first year budgets for the twenty-two consortia applicants, with SSTI team receiving the largest funding award, committing to address solar market barriers across the broadest geographic region. "Transforming solar markets across the Southwest will unlock the massive potential in under-served regions while accomplishing state and federal goals for economic growth through clean technology deployment," said Senior Vice-President for Optony, Ben Foster.
For this first year, SSTI efforts will focus on constructing the framework for this regional effort, developing roadmaps for local jurisdiction engagement for improved solar adoption - that includes a centralized online technical resource center and solar project support hotline – with an eye towards engaging cities to aggressively adopt and tailor solar-friendly policies and programs.
Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI), is a non-profit organization established in San Rafael in 1997, committed to actions that sustain our planet. SEI offers a broad spectrum of sustainability services to support communities as they design and pursue innovative approaches that leverage clean energy and resource efficiency while building local economies and a trained workforce. Our method is multifaceted and comprehensive, starting with collaborative strategic planning that seeks to unlock the potential of critical, yet often under resourced groups - such as local governments, schools and universities, small businesses and affordable housing providers and their residents - to serve as integral agents in their community's response to our collective climate challenge.
Optony (www.optony.com) is a global research and consulting firm focused on enabling government and commercial organizations to bridge the gap between solar energy goals and real-world results. Leveraging our independence, domain expertise and unique market position, our clients can make informed decisions that reduce risk, optimize operations, and deliver the best long-term returns on their solar investments. Optony’s team has worked on various phases of over 100MW of distributed generation PV projects and continues to apply its expertise to develop market-leading solutions and programs across the USA.
For more information on the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative and Rooftop Solar Challenge, please visit: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/