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Million Solar Roofs Initiative—the Conclusion

The Million Solar Roofs (MSR) Initiative was created by the Solar Energy Technologies Program and laid the foundation for the Market Transformation activities of the Solar America Initiative. The goal of the MSR Initiative was to transform markets for distributed solar technologies by facilitating the installation of solar systems

The MSR Initiative concluded in 2006 and transitioned to the Solar America Initiative. An important part of MSR's legacy is the 971 partners nationwide that constitute advocates who are schooled in the technologies and knowledgeable about their local and regional markets. Between 1997 and 2005, 94 coalitions across the country signed on with the DOE as official MSR partnerships. These partnerships comprised 971 private sector firms, electric utilities, builder-developers, nonprofit organizations, and governmental entities-all voluntarily committed to facilitate the installation of a specified number of "solar roofs." This fundamental metric, embedded in the program name, gave the program an outcome-oriented focus.

Key areas where MSR made significant contributions were in addressing barriers to commercialization and developing best practices for market transformation.

The national network of local partnerships imbued the program with a grassroots nature and exemplified successful public-private collaboration. DOE invested 68% of its program funding in competitively awarded grants to these partnerships, which focused on reducing barriers to technology acceptance and on expanding the market for solar technologies.

The remaining funds supported the participation of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, technical experts, and national laboratories in the core program team, providing expert underpinnings for the program, as well as a built-in feedback mechanism from the marketplace to the research community and solar industry.

When the program concluded, the federal government's investment of $16 million had leveraged roughly $7.1 million in cash. It also leveraged in-kind resources and incentive programs throughout the country. This synergy has contributed to the following outcomes:

Installation of the equivalent of more than 377,000 solar water heating, photovoltaics (PV), and solar pool heating systems
Installation of 200 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected PV capacity and 200 MW of solar water heating capacity
Dramatic growth in PV technology acceptance, from 8% of solar installations in 1997 to 41% in 2005
Economic and environmental benefits that resulted from grid-connected PV installed between 1997 and 2005 including:
Health benefit savings of $90 million
Decreased CO2 emissions of 3.3 million tons
Cumulative GNP increase of $1.6 to $2.6 billion, depending on installed cost (range of $8-$10/Watt)
Increase in job-years of 23,000 to 31,000
MSR conducted more than 26 peer exchange workshops, attended by more than 650 people. More than 79% of MSR's partners attended at least one workshop. Between 2003 and 2005 some 910 people participated in 10 interactive telephone seminars
To learn more about the activities completed under the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, please see the Million Solar Roofs Initiative Final Report

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