The Southwest Solar Transformation Initiative (SSTI) represents a regional team of public and private partners committed to advancing solar power adoption across participating municipalities within the Southwest region. SSTI is targeting communities in the Southwest because the solar resource is abundant, but its enormous potential has been largely untapped. The focus of this program is to drive solar market maturity via significant improvements in 5 key areas: Permitting, Planning and Zoning, Interconnection, Net Metering and Financing.
During 2012, SSTI efforts focus on constructing the framework for this regional collaborative model, developing roadmaps for local jurisdictions, providing a centralized online technical resource center, and engaging with staff at participating agencies to provide technical assistance for all their solar programs and process improvements. The SSTI team is directly engaged with over 70 participating organizations across the Southwest, deploying an expert resource network that includes the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, 4 regional councils, state energy offices, and electric utilities. This initiative is led by solar market transformation experts at Optony Inc. and community engagement specialists at the non-profit Strategic Energy Innovations.
Each of our partners has received a customized, interactive solar roadmap which they are leveraging to achieve success in each of the 5 focus areas in order to help unlock over 2GW in potential new solar rooftop projects. The SSTI approach and outcomes include the following:
- Evaluate and Report Solar Potential. Quantify and document the solar potential across residential and commercial rooftops in each jurisdiction and region in terms of economic activity, jobs and environmental benefits.
- Assess Current Solar Processes. Document the existing processes, rules, and regulations regarding solar development in order to identify all major market transformation hurdles and establish a baseline for each jurisdiction.
- Create Customized Roadmaps. Develop local and regional roadmaps for streamlining and standardizing permitting, zoning and interconnection processes in collaboration with all stakeholders, and provide guidance on applicable solar project financial and economic models for residential and commercial property owners.
- Provide Comprehensive Platform. Create a market-leading platform for solar best practices, resources and reports for agency staff at all levels and regional/national stakeholders.
- Support Implementation of Roadmaps. Provide hands-on technical assistance, training, and support to facilitate adoption of programs by local organizations that help capture regional solar opportunities.
- Engage Regional Solar Communities. Provide workforce development, educational and community engagement activities for the solar industry at a regional level.
The SSTI program is committed to real change at the ground level. By driving significant improvements in market conditions for rooftop solar PV in jurisdictions across the Southwest, the SSTI will make going solar easier, faster, and more affordable. An improved solar business environment with lower administrative costs enables participating jurisdictions to capture the full economic and environmental benefits of solar power in their communities.
SSTI is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge and has received funding to help “streamline and standardize permitting, zoning, metering and connection processes – and improve financing options for residential and commercial rooftop solar systems”. The Challenge is part of the DOE Sunshot Initiative, which seeks to make solar electricity cost competitive without subsidies by the end of the decade.
Progam Manager: Optony Inc.
Non-Profit Project Leader: Strategic Energy Innovations
More information about the DOE Solar Rooftop Challenge: Rooftop Solar Challenge website