Hard costs of photovoltaic solar
short description
Challenge: Find ways to decrease the capital costs of solar PV infrastructure
Full Description
Problem statement: The high initial costs associated with installing PV solar systems is an inhibitor to greater market adoption. A major portion of this initial cost consists of capital associated with PV modules, capital associated with power electronics (inverters), and other balance-of-system capital costs. Innovations that reduce these costs can win commercial success in the market and lead to greater solar penetration.


Submissions may include up to 5 links to research literature that provides background and relevant patents. Such links can be to a website article, a Wikipedia page or for National Lab IP, It is the Prize Administrator’s hope that the quality of literature referenced in the submissions will factor into voting results.

comments (public)

  • Team Treadergy Sept. 30, 2018, 2:54 p.m. PDT
    Fellow Ideation Contest Entrant,
    In response to your submission, we would offer a possible solution based on our new modular, durable racking system made from recycled tires. It acts as a platform for PV thin film panels that also contain an internal Thermal collection system. This cogeneration system saves space as it is contained in the same footprint. The heat taken away from the PV panels also increases their efficiency. The thermal energy is collected in either an open or closed loop system for domestic hot water or other uses. The system can be mounted on most surfaces. There are numerous advantages to conventional metal racking. There are many attachment options for direct or temporary bonding. Most wind and snow loading concerns are no longer an issue. The low profile on these modules also eliminates shading problems. The system is also portable and expandable. By simplifying engineering challenges we will also bring down soft and hard costs of installation. By reducing the cost of metal with less expensive rubber, we will bring down the cost to the consumer. Labor and engineering costs will also be less expensive. Our goal is to attain a price low enough, that incentives won't be needed. This concept is for on and off grid applications. This system is also practical for green houses, RVS, pools and other seasonal or portable applications. This system is versatile as it can be mounted on roofs, ground, concrete, TPO, EPDM and more. Anyone should be able to harvest solar energy. Sustainability advantages are that it uses scrap tires which are an inexpensive abundant environmental hazard.
    We are currently conducting research at Penn State University on our newest prototype for our PV/T collector system. Special thanks to our PV Panel partner Global Solar.
    We have assembled an excellent team going into the the Ready Contest. All components in this system including PV panels will be manufactured in the US. We are working for the future of plug and play solar energy.
    Thank you for your ideas and concerns regarding real time obstacles for the industry and its consumers. We appreciate everyone's efforts in advancing our community's collective technologies for a better tomorrow. Please let us know if this could be an answer to your challenge.
    Keith Myers
    Team Treadergy