The recently formed solar advocacy organization Solar Freedom Now (SFN) is on a mission to reduce the cost of rooftop solar. This week it released a new white paper, ‘A Roadmap for Reducing Rooftop Solar Costs by 50%’. The white paper is aimed at how the organization plans to reduce the soft costs of solar in the U.S.
In the paper, the organization contends that eliminating paperwork and red tape in the U.S. can reduce rooftop solar costs by 50 percent. “Solar Freedom Now’s goal is to make 2013 the year of eliminating the paperwork and red tape that burdens solar installations.” SFN said eliminating soft costs will allow homeowners to benefit from cheaper electricity, even with reduced solar incentives.
“In order to lower the price of a solar system, it’s easier to find a way to cut red tape by 20 percent than to find another 20 percent in incentives or reduced equipment costs,” said Ron Kenedi, co-founder of SFN. “Eliminating the paperwork and red tape is the industry’s biggest cost saving opportunity.”
To achieve the goals, the organization introduced a four-step action plan. The four steps are: to communicate the issues related to paperwork and red tape to the solar industry; Develop grassroots support and partner with like-minded organizations; Establish national policies to eliminate paperwork and red tape for solar; and Advocate and pass such policies on a national scale.
It’s an ambitious plan for an organization that launched in September 2012. To help achieve its goals, SFN developed an advisory board, announced alongside the white paper. The board consists of: Jesse Pichel, CEO and Founder of Pichel Cleantech Advisors; Paula Mints, Founder/Chief Market Research Analyst at Paula Mints Solar PV Market Research; Tom McCalmont, CEO of McCalmont Engineering; Ron Kenedi, President/CEO Ron Kenedi Consulting; and Barry Cinnamon, Founder Cinnamon Solar Technology.
While it may seem like a stretch that the non-material costs of solar could plummet just by reducing paperwork and red tape, but SFN looks to the example of Germany, where a rooftop solar array can cost $10,000, all-in, and the paperwork for a new system is only a page long. The market there is not hampered by multiple factors that have made it harder for solar installers to get solar on roofs quickly. For instance, a home can have an installation on in Germany within a week of signing up for it. In the U.S. the period between signing for a new array and getting the installation is usually much longer, sometimes, months.