The idea is as follows as found on the Energy.gov sits:
Going Solar in Record Time with Plug-and-Play PV
Systems Integration Lead, SunShot Initiative
WHAT DOES THIS PROJECT DO?
The Energy Department is investing up to $5 million this year to simplify residential photovoltaic installations.
Under the Plug-and-Play Photovoltaics initiative, up to two awardees will receive support to design market-ready PV systems.
If you have a home computer, you have probably used plug-and-play technology to install new hardware like printers or web cams. Many of today’s smart phones also incorporate this technology. You simply connect the new device to launch an automatic configuration process and, within minutes, your system is set up and ready to go.
The SunShot Initiative is now aiming to bring that same ease of installation to residential photovoltaic (PV) solar systems. In the future, installing a solar array for your home could be as easy as plugging in common household appliances, which are purchased, installed and operational in one day. The goal is to simply plug the new system into a PV-ready circuit to initiate an automatic detection system that would connect your system with your local utility. In just one day, you are able to start powering your home with renewable solar electricity.
The Energy Department is investing up to $5 million this year to develop plug-and-play PV technology that will make this vision a reality, making the process of buying, installing and connecting energy systems faster, easier and less expensive for American homeowners and families. Under the Plug-and-Play Photovoltaics initiative announced today, up to two awardees will receive support to design a market-ready PV system that could fundamentally change the design and installation of residential PV systems.
This effort is part of the Department’s broader strategy to reduce the non-hardware or “soft” costs of solar, from installation, permitting and interconnection to electronics and mounting hardware. As the costs of solar PV modules continue to come down, soft costs and other non-module hardware costs now account for more than half of the total cost of home solar systems.
Check out more on the Department’s SunShot Initiative HERE and learn about how we’re working to reduce the cost of solar energy by 75% by the end of the decade, making it cost competitive with other forms of American energy.
The DOE SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national initiative to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Reducing the installed cost of solar energy systems by about 75% will drive widespread, large-scale adoption of this renewable energy technology and restore U.S. leadership in the global clean energy race.
Lofty goals, big ideas, green jobs, big plans in a year of elections and political gridlock, roadblock etc. I worry at times that you can fall into two camps when it comes to these ideas - the cheerleader or the naysayer. And there are more than enough sites that fall into both - I read them. So I try to be optimistic while being honest about what really is possible and what the reality of each situation, scenario, and option offers. I frequently find that when in naysayer camp there is a lot to criticize while not offering real suggestions or alternatives as to what is possible. A good example was the super insulation project of the housing project I blogged about. Much was made about the overall costs and longevity and pay back without a full analysis on why is what expensive and what could have simply been done to maintain the integrity while lowering the costs. Its easy to be an armchair critic or "curmudgeon". The same goes with the cheerleader. When you vest into a concept or idea the project becomes secondary to one's personal involvement so instead of criticism being perceived as constructive its taken personally and as result there is little room for diverse ideas or options.
My issue is that (and I have blogged on this before) many grants and loans are often less based on the merit of the project but on the political connection of the grantee. As noted many of the earlier DOE grants to businesses like Solyndra were based on the political relationships to those in the "know" vs those with the know. And frankly I suspect more of the same crony capitalism again.
I do believe that while encouraging the development and use of electric cars the need for PV panels on those who elect to have such cars will be essential on several counts.. one being overall energy use and costs that could easily add to the sticker shot of the overall costs and maintenance of said vehicle. And given that if you are living in a multi family project who pays for the charging and how that is done will also be one for debate, I suspect sooner vs later.
I am interested to see if this project will be discussed at the DOE conference in Denver this summer. We shall see.