Multi-State Collaboration Awarded $1.5 million from U.S. Department of Energy
Montpelier, Vermont— The Public Service Department (PSD) announced today that it would participate in a regional effort targeting non-hardware “soft” costs for photovoltaic (PV) electricity systems and increasing coordination across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national nonprofit organization that works with state and federal agencies, industry leaders, and other stakeholders to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, will coordinate the initiative, which has been awarded $1.5 million under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II program.
The PSD will be the lead agency for Vermont’s involvement in this project. “Vermont has succeeded dramatically in deploying solar energy, and we are excited to work with other New England states to build on this success and work to further lower the cost of solar energy in our region” said Christopher Recchia, Commissioner of the VT PSD.
In addition to the Vermont Public Service Department, the lead state agencies participating are Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MA DOER), the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (NH OEP), and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RI OER).
The Rooftop Solar Challenge II incentivizes teams to make it easier and more affordable for Americans to go solar through competitively awarded funding. By streamlining permit processes, updating planning and zoning codes, improving standards for connecting solar power to the electric grid, and increasing access to financing, teams will clear a path for rapid expansion of solar energy and serve as models for other communities across the nation. The Rooftop Solar Challenge II is part of the SunShot Initiative, which strives to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade.
The New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership will help strengthen the solar market in the five-state region with 13 million residents. The partnership will refine and deploy innovations developed in Connecticut and Massachusetts for DOE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge I, and will more widely implement solar best practices from across the region.
Under this award, the PSD and the four other states will tackle a range of barriers to PV deployment, including permitting and interconnection challenges; the need for new financing tools; and planning and zoning rule variations.
“Information sharing among the states and better understanding of the needs of stakeholders will help us identify efficiencies, potential collaborative activities, and opportunities for reducing soft costs,” said Warren Leon, Executive Director of CESA. “These states are all committed to the common goals of reducing the cost of solar electricity and building a strong regional market. We are excited to be partnering with them for this project.”
Municipalities, state agencies, major utilities, and other stakeholders across the four states will be key participants in the project.