Impressive results earned team an award of distinction, highlight path to continued success
Rocky Hill, CT (Nov. 2, 2017) – The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Prize: Race to 7-Day Solar, a national competition intended to reduce the time it takes to “go solar” across the country, has ended, and the Connecticut Permit to Plug-in Challenge team was among the two final participants. While neither team was eligible for the grand prize, both teams made impressive progress and were given an award of distinction for their efforts.
The SunShot competition began in September 2015 with five competing teams across the country and concluded in March 2017. During the competition, three teams — Northern and Central California SunShot Alliance, Sunrun, and the Connecticut Permit to Plug-in Challenge — reached a major milestone in the competition and were each awarded $100,000 in seed prizes and received the title “SunShot Prize Change Champion.”
The Connecticut Permit to Plug-in Challenge team was comprised of the Connecticut Green Bank, and the state’s investor-owned utilities, Eversource Energy and the United Illuminating Company, as well as solar installers representing nearly 60% of the state’s solar market, and many municipalities. Working together, they created a multi-pronged strategic approach to reducing solar installation times, and relied on detailed project tracking and evaluation, which enabled them to inform and replicate strategies that positively impacted project completion times.
According to the challenge’s criteria, to win the competition’s $3 million grand prize, teams needed to get a minimum of 2,250 points and complete 85% of its total installed capacity in 56 days or less. The Connecticut Permit to Plug-in Challenge team reported the installation of 1,501 systems in 49 participating municipalities covering 141 different zip codes. The systems that were installed averaged 8.74 kW, resulting in 13.03 MW of total installed solar capacity. The median total time, from permit to plug-in was 89 days and 78.6% of its total installed capacity was completed in 56 days or less.
To attain this success, the team worked closely to identify and implement process improvements for solar installations across the value chain. The competition enabled the team to create resources that walk residents through the permit to plug-in process, standardize aspects of municipal solar permitting processes, and implement improvements to the utility interconnection process for solar PV.
“While there was no winning team, it’s clear that the residents of Connecticut are the winners here,” said Connecticut Green Bank President and CEO Bryan Garcia. “Residents will continue to benefit from the lessons learned from the interaction between the utilities, solar contractors, municipalities and the Green Bank. We are proud to have been one of the final two teams striving towards such an important goal for the adoption of residential solar PV.”
The other final team was the Northern and Central California SunShot Alliance, who completed 80% of their total installed capacity in 56 days or less. While California was not able to meet the minimum point threshold for a grand prize, they completed the competition with 1,780 points – only 10 points more than Connecticut.