U.S. Dept. of Energy awards Richmond residential solar company $1 million

U.S. Dept. of Energy awards Richmond residential solar energy provider $1 million

For a second straight year, a Richmond solar energy company has won a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) to continue developing technology that will make home installations less expensive and more reliable.

On Thursday, SMASHsolar announced the company has received a $1 million grant from a DOE program funding innovative solar research and development.

The company will use the funds to develop and commercialize technology that aims to make home solar installations easier, faster and less expensive.

Currently homeowners can have solar systems leased to them by a provider such as SolarCity, which will also install them and monitor them, SMASHsolar spokesperson Kirsten Maynard said. With the technology SMASHsolar is developing, homeowners will be able to purchase simple, snap-together solar photovoltaic systems they can install on their own or by using a contractor of their choice, Maynard said.

The solar system is twice as fast as current systems to install, thus reducing building cost. Homeowners can purchase panels based upon need, meaning if they decide they wanted to tap more solar energy they can simply purchase more for delivery.

“We are designing SMASH products to be elegant alternatives to complex and costly solar power systems on the market today,” Neil Goldberg, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of SMASHsolar, said in a statement.

Last year, SMASHsolar won a $500,000 grant from DOE to research and develop its solar technology. The $1 million it was just awarded will go toward commercializing the tech.

“To receive $1.5 million is a real endorsement of SMASHsolar’s technology by the U.S. Department of Energy,” Maynard said.