PROJECT PROFILE: University of Texas at Austin (SEEDS2-SES)

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Project Name: Knowledge Spillovers and Cost Reductions in Solar Soft Costs
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies 2 – State Energy Strategies (SEEDS2-SES)
SunShot Subprogram: Soft Costs
Location: Austin, TX
SunShot Award Amount: $1,250,000
Awardee Cost Share: N/A

This project studies the size and mechanism of knowledge spillovers in the solar industry, specifically how best practices related to solar soft cost issues are transferred. These best practices include installation processes, permitting processes, customer acquisition, and overhead costs. The project examines how important knowledge spillovers are, what types of knowledge are most likely to spill over, and how policies can be designed to address them.

APPROACH

The project team focuses on soft costs that were incurred between 2000 and 2015, including both residential and utility scale installations. The team collects multiple streams of data to lay the groundwork for deeper analysis and quantification of spillovers using a comprehensive, multi-method, data-driven approach, including archival research, expert interviews, case studies, surveys, patent analysis, and network analysis.

INNOVATION

This project will significantly improve knowledge of how solar energy practitioners interact with one another and transfer information across broad networks, potentially identifying mechanisms for high knowledge transfer that can be enhanced by the solar market in the future.