U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

SunShot Initiative

Reducing Non-Hardware Costs

DOE supports efforts to dramatically reduce the non-hardware, balance of systems costs associated with solar energy systems. Representing as much as 64% of the total installed system price, these "soft costs" include:

To meet SunShot goals, the industry must innovate new ways to automate and speed processes that make it easier for consumers, businesses, utilities, solar companies, and others to install solar projects. For example, novel software solutions now allow solar companies to design systems and provide accurate quotes using satellite images rather than conducting full site visits.

Finding new paths to reduce balance of systems costs can make the solar business more profitable for companies and solar energy more accessible for Americans.

Graph with bars representing the non-hardware costs of residential, commerical, and utility scale.

A comparison of 2010 solar installation balance of systems (non-hardware) costs with SunShot Initiative 2020 goals. These figures represent preliminary estimates based on ongoing NREL data collection efforts. Source: NREL/DOE