The Energy Department today announced $2.2 million for three California projects to help lower the costs of solar electricity and increase deployment nationwide. This funding will help startup businesses and entrepreneurs develop technologies, innovative programs, and streamlined processes that will make solar more accessible for American families and businesses.

As part of the eighth round of the SunShot Incubator Program, the Energy Department 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. of Berkley will receive nearly $497,000 to build the industry’s first integrated ecosystem of software apps that allows disparate software tools to work together, allowing 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 lowering the costs of customer acquisition and labor.
  • Genability of San Francisco will receive $1,000,000 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 Corporation of Belmont 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%.

The SunShot Incubator Program builds on the Department’s record of successful partnerships with industry, laboratories, and academia by providing early-stage assistance to help small businesses cross technological barriers to commercialization and spurring private sector investment. Since 2007, more than 75 American startups have participated in the SunShot Incubator Program – attracting more than $1.8 billion in private-sector backing, or nearly $18 for every $1 of government support.

Today, the utility-scale PV industry is more than 60% of the way to achieving SunShot’s target of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. In the United States, the average price for a utility-scale PV project has dropped from about $0.21 per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to $0.11 per kilowatt-hour at the end of 2013. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. electricity price is about $0.12 per kilowatt-hour. Check out a recent graph that shows how these costs have fallen in just the last three years.

Deployment of affordable and accessible solar energy is growing quickly across the United States. Learn more about major progress toward the SunShot affordability goal. The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.