The cost of solar photovoltaic modules is coming down, so softcosts and other non-module hardware costs, such as electronics andmounting hardware, now account for a majority of the total costs ofresidential solar PV systems. “The department’s announcement today supporting plug-and-play solarenergy technologies will help make it easier and cheaper forconsumers to adopt clean, affordable solar energy, while supportingU.S. manufacturing leadership in the next generation of cleanenergy technologies and diversifying America’s energy portfolio,”said Secretary Chu. The Department of Energy intends to invest up to $25 million overfive years to advance the development of a commercial plug-and-playphotovoltaic system, which is envisioned as an off-the-shelfproduct that is fully inclusive with little need for individualcustomization. Huawei Wireless Router
The funding will help drive innovations to upgrade the design andinstallation of residential PV systems, reducing costs forhomeowners through more efficient installation and permittingprocesses and new ways to affordably and effectively connect solarpanels to the grid. Homeowners would be able to install a PV system without specialtraining or tools by simply plugging it into a PV-ready circuit. Anautomatic PV discovery process would initiate communication betweenthe system and the utility. Plug-and-play systems are already in wide use in the computer andautomotive industries. Secretary Chu believes that similarinnovations can be made in the solar energy industry to reducecosts and simplify installations. Huawei Wireless Modems
As part of the planned five-year program, the Energy Departmentwill invest an initial $5 million this year for two projects thatwill develop innovative plug-and-play prototypes throughpartnerships with universities, industry, utilities, and otherstakeholders. The department plans to make an additional request of $20 millionto Congress over the next four years to support these efforts. This move is part of the SunShot Initiative, a collaborativenational effort to make solar energy cost competitive with otherforms of energy by the end of the decade, said Chu. Inspired by President John F. Sierra Wireless Router
Kennedy’s Moon Shot program that putthe first man on the moon, the SunShot Initiative has created newmomentum for the solar industry by highlighting the need forAmerican competitiveness in the clean energy race. Chu said, “Providing families and businesses with new choices touse American energy resources that can save them money is animportant part of President Obama’s all-of-the above energystrategy.” Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2012. All rights reserved.