WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $2.2 million for three projects to help lower the costs of solar electricity and increase deployment nationwide. DOE said this funding will help develop technologies and streamline processes to make solar more accessible for residential and commercial applications.

As part of the eighth round of the SunShot Incubator Program, DOE is investing in three California-based small businesses to continue driving down both the hardware and non-hardware “soft costs” of solar, such as permitting and installation.

SolarNexus Inc. will receive nearly $497,000 to build the industry’s first integrated system of software apps that allows disparate software tools to work together, enabling solar contractors and others in the residential and commercial solar markets to install solar at a lower cost. The online platform will leverage an existing, publicly available data standard for the transfer of client- and project-related information — automating processes and helping lower the costs of customer acquisition and labor.

Genability will receive $1 million to generate a comparison report that determines the optimum payment plan for solar customers using an analysis of projected versus actual solar savings and a monthly savings statement. Genability is also implementing a “Verified by Genability” certification that will help solar installers lower the cost of preparing bids and expand their business.

CelLink Corp. will receive $704,000 to create a new circuit that will be used to build high-efficiency solar panels. By using less expensive materials and processes, this new circuit could reduce the costs of manufacturing these silicon photovoltaic modules by 10 percent.

The SunShot Incubator Program provides early-stage assistance to help small businesses cross technological barriers to commercialization and spur private sector investment. For more information, visit http://energy.gov/eere/sunshot.

Publication date: 3/17/2014

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