On May 25, 2016 at Solar Power Southeast, the Energy Department named the Northern and Central California SunShot Alliance, the Connecticut Permit to Plug-in Team, and Sunrun teams SunShot Prize Change Champions. At the event, each team won a $50,000 Change Prize and were recognized for meeting a major milestone of the SunShot Prize: Race to 7-Day Solar competition which aims to motivate local governments, communities, solar companies and electric utilities to collaborate towards improving the “going solar” experience from permit to plug-in for all Americans.

Since the competition started in September 2015, each team has made significant progress toward reducing the amount of time it takes to connect a residential solar installation to the grid. The SunShot Prize Change Champions connected at least three megawatts of solar energy to the grid using tools they’re developing to streamline permitting, installation, and interconnections processes so arrays can connect to the grid in under seven days. In some locations, it currently takes up to six months to connect to the grid. Reducing wait times will help to lower the soft costs of installing solar, which make up more than half of the price tag of going solar.

The three teams each won a total of $100,000 for their progress, along with points that will help them win the competition. The two teams that accumulate the most points will win two grand prizes totaling $4 million when the contest ends in March 2017.

Learn more about the SunShot Prize: Race to 7-Day Solar and the teams competing.