U.S. has plenty of solar energy everywhere —Jennifer DeCesaro of DoE

Jennifer DeCesaro of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) said she liked showing a map of U.S. insolation outside the U.S. southwest because then she could point out that Spain has not as good resources and a larger solar market, while Germany, the world leader in deployed solar, has solar resources like the state of Alaska. So the U.S. has plenty of solar energy everywhere.

She made a few other comparisons between U.S. and Germany. U.S.: 30% investment tax credit. Germany: National Feed-in Tariff.

She talked about SunShot: the Apollo mission of our time. It aims to reduce solar costs by 75% by the end of the decade, making solar cost-competitive with fossil fuels without subsidy.

Actual panels cost about the same in U.S. and Germany, but the rest of system costs about twice as much. DoE has broken down those other costs into customer acquisition, financing and contracting, permitting, installation and performance, and other non-hardware and is addressing each of them. She said transparency is key to addressing them.

DoE rooftop solar challenge, looking for areas with minimum pop. 500,000 to do interconnected rooftop solar. According to DoE’s announcement,

The Rooftop Solar Challenge will encourage participating government teams to compete in four critical areas: standardizing permit processes, updating planning and zoning codes, improving standards for connecting to the grid and increasing access to financing. Each team must submit data, including information about their current permitting and grid interconnection processes to establish the baseline against which to measure the progress they make during the year of the Challenge.

To meet that population minimum south Georgia would require something like all of SGRDC’s counties. That might be worth a try.