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SEED Project Nominated for 2015 IREC 3iAward

The 2015 3i Awards for Innovation, Ingenuity and Inspiration honors the nation’s best projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency in three categories: Community Renewables Project of the Year, State and Local Government Initiative of the Year, Closing the Divide Award. The SEED Project is int the State and Local Government Initiative of the Year category.

The SEED Fund is designed to empower public agencies (primarily local governments) to overcome barriers to clean energy adoption. Funded by the California Solar Initiative, the SEED Fund leverages a revolving fund mechanism to develop regional group purchases of solar PV. The SEED Fund team incurs upfront costs for high-quality solar potential assessments, RFP/RFQ development, and vendor evaluations for participating public agencies. The agencies reimburse the SEED Fund through solar contracts that are developed with vendors. This repayment is the foundation of the SEED Fund’s durable financing model: a revolving fund mechanism that funds iterative rounds of collaborative procurement for public agencies. To date, 16 public agencies are involved in the SEED 2 collaborative, including counties, cities, water districts, community colleges, and special districts. The team issued a joint Request for Proposals (RFP), involving 32 sites across 14 public agencies with a combined 6.8 MW estimated potential capacity for solar generation. 25 sites amongst 13 public agencies have entered, or are planning to enter into purchase or PPA contracts with the selected vendor, resulting in an estimated 4.7 MW of new solar capacity.

Click here to vote. The State and Local Government Initiative voting section is on the third page.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at Solar Power International 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Rooftop Solar Challenge: Empowering Innovators to Reach for the Sun

Official announcement about the Rooftop Solar Challenge II program launch was made November 6, 2013 on the Department of Energy and White House websites.

 

Overcoming Solar Roadblocks: There’s a Map for That

This is an excerpt from the August 13, 2013 edition of the SunShot newsletter.

Optony, through the Southwest Solar Transformation Initiative (SSTI), successfully launched its Solar Roadmap with support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge. This customizable, interactive Web platform, which shows the real-time status of the solar market in more than 70 participating jurisdictions, makes it easier and more cost effective for residents to obtain clean, locally produced power with solar energy installations.

SSTI set out to increase solar energy use among businesses and homeowners in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and the San Joaquin Valley in California. In just one year, this team hit milestone after milestone under the leadership of Optony—a Silicon Valley-based consulting firm that offers planning, implementation, and management services for the solar industry.

SSTI’s Solar Roadmap provides clear direction for reaching Department of Energy targets in four key areas: permitting, financing, market development, and zoning and planning. During the Rooftop Solar Challenge, SSTI helped cities and counties throughout the Southwest take the steps needed to implement best practices. Now, the tool is available to any U.S. jurisdiction on the path to solar prosperity.

Because it does more than just show the way, the Solar Roadmap is more like a travel agent, guidebook, and GPS rolled into one website that never asks to be refolded. First, the “My Roadmap” tab helps communities without previous experience in solar to create their own solar roadmap. This customized tool highlights the actions a community needs to take to align with Rooftop Solar Challenge goals.

The SSTI team also compiled a comprehensive and publicly searchable Resource Library featuring more than 280 model documents published by key solar industry players, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, SolarABCs, and Solar Electric Power Association. These documents aim to help communities and utilities increase solar market activity in their regions by highlighting the best of the best resources.

In addition, the Solar Roadmap includes a Leaderboard that allows users to quickly scan for and access the roadmaps and profiles of all participating municipalities. By tracking each community’s current progress in real time, the Leaderboard serves as a highly visible platform where communities can showcase their efforts and compare their progress with peer cities and counties working to strengthen their economy and environment through clean, locally produced power.

“The Solar Roadmap provided the interface for our community to access all of our goals and track our progress toward achieving these goals,” said Steve Bench from the City of Tremonton in Utah. “We were able to access a range of supporting resources, including an online permit process, administrative zoning approval, and a standard building permit fee for both residential and commercial applications.”

With fewer administrative barriers and the cost savings that come with it, the road to going solar is now easier to navigate for more than 3 million residents. Signs show the road ahead widening as more communities consult SSTI’s Solar Roadmap.

This project is funded by the Rooftop Solar Challenge program under the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

 

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

This is an excerpt from the December 11, 2011 Press Release from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative.

The [Rooftop Solar 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.

The Southwest Solar Transformation Initiative (the first iteration of the ASTI progam) team represented nearly 20% of the national agencies participating in the DOE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge I program.

 

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