-- This challenge has concluded. Learn about the winners. --

The Rooftop Solar Challenge aims to reduce the cost of rooftop solar energy systems through improved permitting, financing, zoning, net metering, and interconnection processes for residential and small commercial photovoltaic (PV) installations.

Launched in February 2012, the first round of the Rooftop Solar Challenge supported one-year projects for 22 regional teams. The aggregated efforts of Rooftop Solar Challenge I teams cut permitting time by 40% and reduced permitting costs by 12% for more than 47 million Americans, cutting hundreds of years of red tape from the process of going solar.

Through the second round of this program, eight collaborative teams that have demonstrated local successes in reducing the cost of solar are leading two-and-a-half year efforts to deploy effective techniques, tools, and standards for the benefit of more Americans.

Rooftop Solar Challenge II Teams

Broward County

  • Location: Florida (Southeastern)
  • Population Impact: 4,000,000
  • Amount: $1,575,000
  • Partners: Florida Solar Energy Center, Florida Atlantic University, School of Urban and Regional Planning, and local jurisdictions
  • Highlights: Go SOLAR–Florida will expand its market-leading online permitting solution to nine local municipalities and six additional Florida counties, and will continue to engage Florida stakeholders to expand financing options in the state as it unlocks its full potential as a leader in PV deployment.

California Center for Sustainable Energy

  • Location: California
  • Population Impact: 37,000,000
  • Amount: $1,299,522
  • Partners: California Governor's Office of Planning and Research, Energy Policy Initiatives Center at University of San Diego, Contra Costa Economic Development Authority, Optony, Energy Solutions, Southern California Regional Energy Network, and local jurisdictions
  • Highlights: The Golden State Solar Impact project will transform California's solar market by making permitting and interconnection processes more uniform, rapid, and transparent across the state. The project will implement a standardized permitting process and develop tools such as a statewide interconnection and data portal to dramatically reduce soft costs in California.

City University of New York

  • Location: New York
  • Population Impact: 10,200,000
  • Amount: $1,400,000
  • Partners: CUNY Ventures, Inc., New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, New York Power Authority, The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC), The State University of New York (SUNY), Con Edison, NYC Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, NYC Department of Buildings, NYC Economic Development Corporation, and local jurisdictions
  • Highlights: NYSolar Smart will create a toolkit of policies, programs, and resources to enable jurisdictions, utilities, industry, and end users to reduce the time and cost of installing solar PV. These include Web-accessible permitting, virtual net-metering guidelines for master-metered buildings, group purchasing programs, and updated model zoning ordinances. NYSolar Smart IT tools will include a customizable customer acquisition portal, solar maps, market analytics, and a one-stop PV market portal.

Clean Energy States Alliance

  • Location: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont
  • Population Impact: 13,000,000
  • Amount: $1,500,000
  • Partners: Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MA-DOER), New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (NH-OEP), Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RI-OER), Vermont Public Service Department (VT-PSD), and local jurisdictions
  • Highlights: The New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership will build a thriving regional solar market by: increasing coordination across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont; refining and deploying innovations developed in Connecticut and Massachusetts during Rooftop Solar Challenge I; and more widely implementing best practices across the region, including online permitting and group purchasing programs.

Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)

  • Location: Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
  • Population Impact: 10,000,000
  • Amount: $2,575,000
  • Partners: National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), Meister Consultants Group (MCG), Council of State Governments (CSG), Kansas Corporation Commission, Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Delaware County, PA Planning Department, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Maricopa Association of Governments, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments, Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and participating jurisdictions.
  • Highlights: MARC and the National Association of Regional Councils will use established and trusted relationships among regional planning councils and local governments to spread solar-friendly best practices to nine diverse regions across the country, building upon successful efforts in the Kansas City region to create a strong solar market.

Midwest Renewable Energy Association

  • Location: Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota
  • Population Impact: 23,000,000
  • Amount: $1,897,346
  • Partners: CR Planning, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Illinois Green Economy Network,  MN Clean Energy Resource Teams
  • Highlights: The MREA is leading the Midwest Grow Solar Partnership, leveraging experiences gained by three teams in the Rooftop Solar Challenge to engage regional stakeholders in reducing PV softs costs.  The partnership will provision resources, training, and technical assistance to expedite jurisdictional permitting, improve planning processes and zoning rules, advance model finance arrangements, and improve net metering and interconnection processes and rules.  These experiences will be shared through the website www.growsolar.org and through the Solar Powering the Midwest conference series.

Optony, Inc.

  • Location: California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Hawaii, Texas, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York
  • Population Impact: 60,000,000
  • Amount: $1,199,598
  • Partners: Solar Electric Power Association, Strategic Energy Innovations, US Photovoltaic Manufacturers Consortium, Rocky Mountain Institute, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Northern Virginia Regional Commission, and Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board
  • Highlights: The American Solar Transformation Initiative will use an innovative online Solar Roadmap platform and hands-on engagement to assist over 400 jurisdictions where solar potential is abundant, but resources and information are scarce. The project will improve permitting processes, establish solar friendly planning and zoning guidelines, streamline the interconnection process, expand financing options, and ultimately develop strong solar markets across the country.

Washington State Department of Commerce

  • Location: Washington, Oregon
  • Population Impact: 10,500,000
  • Amount: $1,650,000
  • Partners: Northwest SEED, Oregon Department of Energy, Snohomish Public Utility District, Seattle City Light, Puget Sound Energy, Portland General Electric, Avista, Pacific Power, Solar Washington, Solar Oregon, IREC, WA State University Energy Extension, Sustainable Connections, Energy Trust of Oregon, OR Resource Conservation & Development Council, Municipal Research and Services Center of WA, and local jurisdictions
  • Highlights: The Pacific Northwest Solar Partnership aims to double PV capacity in Washington and Oregon by creating a more uniform and vibrant regional solar market. The collaborative project will establish "solar ready" corridors and simple online permitting and common interconnection processes for 80% of residents. The effort will also continue to expand innovative, locally developed financing solutions such as community solar and Solarize programs to provide access to financing options in every utility territory in the two-state region.