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Solar: Picnic Table Charges Devices; DOE Invests $12M to Speed Solar Deployment

November 7, 2013 By Linda Hardesty

Energy Manage solar picnic tableCarrierClass Green Infrastructure is selling ConnecTable Solar Charging Stations. These power stations are available in café, picnic, and deck table forms for use in a variety of public spaces.

The solar power charging and backup power systems are designed to accommodate a range of table design aesthetics, surface materials, and site design objectives for universities, city parks, outdoor malls, sports complexes, mixed-use developments and theme parks. Multiple tables can be combined to form a micro grid and a backup power source during extended power outages. The tables qualify for the 30 percent investment tax credit offered to businesses that install solar.

The Energy Department announced eight new teams to spur solar deployment for residential and small commercial rooftop solar systems. As part of the DOE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge, which is run by the SunShot Initiative, these teams will receive about $12 million – matched by over $4 million in outside funding – to streamline and standardize solar permitting, zoning, metering and connection processes for communities across the country.

Today, solar modules cost about one percent of what they did 35 years ago, and permitting and interconnection are an increasingly large portion of overall solar system costs, according to DOE, which wants to make the deployment of solar power in communities across the country faster, easier and cheaper. Non-hardware, or “soft,” costs like permitting, installation, design and maintenance now account for more than 60 percent of the total cost of installed rooftop PV systems in the US. Across the nation, there are more than 18,000 local jurisdictions with their own PV permitting requirements as well as more than 5,000 utilities that set rules for connecting to the power grid.

During the Rooftop Solar Challenge’s first round, 22 regional teams worked to reduce the soft costs of solar and to streamline deployments – serving as models for other communities across the country. These efforts helped cut permitting time by 40 percent and reduce fees by over 10 percent, says DOE. The eight newly announced teams will work to further expand solar’s reach.



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