The high-level goal of RMI’s solar program is to accelerate the deployment of photovoltaic solar systems in the U.S. We’re going about this in three primary ways, all aimed at collaborating with entities throughout the solar ecosystem:
1) Help industry reduce hard and soft balance of system costs
2) Streamline investor access to PV systems
3) Assist utilities with the integration of distributed PV
Currently, we’re partnering with over a dozen businesses, municipalities, utilities, trade associations, laboratories and other nonprofits on several projects. Most of these projects deal explicitly with balance of system costs. This graph will help situate where these projects fall into our approach.
The bar on the left shows the average cost per watt of a rooftop commercial system in the U.S. The projects on the right are positioned to illustrate what specific costs the projects in which we’re involved are trying to reduce.
- SIMPLE BoS is focused on creating a new PV module design that reduces hardware balance of system costs like racking and wiring along with associated labor costs by 50 percent of industry best practice.
- Solar 3.0 is dedicated to working with installers, code officials and inspectors in regional markets across the country in order to reduce permitting and inspection-related costs by 30 percent.
- The Solar Friendly Communities Project is intended to create a rating program analogous to the widely recognized LEED rating system for commercial buildings or the League of American Bicyclists’ “Bicycle Friendly Communities” designation. The rating system will be used to share best practices surrounding non-hardware balance of system costs including permitting, interconnection, inspection and zoning among participating communities in Colorado.