DOE-Backed Interconnection Project Takes Aim at Solar’s Pernicious “Soft Costs”

U.S. solar developers must wade through a tangle of divergent standards to get projects running. And with the significant increase in the volume of solar projects in recent years, utilities must devote more and more time to processing applications that may be incomplete or coming in at a clip that staff can’t keep up with.

Over time, that leads to longer application cycles, which builds to higher costs, which means fewer projects overall.

These types of “soft costs” — or costs tied to customer acquisition or the design, engineering and interconnection of solar installations, rather than the equipment itself — have long been a formidable barrier to reducing overall solar prices, particularly in the U.S.

Interconnection becomes even more difficult when you add storage to the equation, as is becoming the norm for more developers. While the majority of states have solar interconnection guidelines, only a handful have storage-specific rules.

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