Boulder County Business Report - concept3D receives $1.3 million grant

BOULDER - Concept3D Inc. will receive a $1.3 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help lower the cost to install rooftop solar panels.

The company with offices in Boulder, Denver and Minneapolis plans to use the grant to help reduce the time and "soft costs" associated with on-site surveys and permitting, system design and installation of solar panels, according to a press statement announcing the grant.

Concept3D Inc. is known for providing content and services associated with Google Maps and Google Earth.

The grant is part of the DOE's SunShot incubator program, which aims to reduce the cost residential customers pay for solar energy by 75 percent by 2020, said Jen Stutsman, a DOE spokeswoman. The goal of the SunShot program is to make solar energy financially competitive with other forms of electricity without using government subsidies, Stutsman said. "Soft costs" such as permitting and financing can amount to nearly half the cost of a residential solar system, the DOE said in the press statement.

Simply Civic LLC of Parker also received up to $499,510 as part of the SunShot incubator program, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Wednesday during a visit to Denver.

"Through the SunShot Initiative, we're tackling the technological, scientific and market barriers facing America's solar industry to make sure solar power continues to play an important role in our diverse energy mix," Chu said in the statement.

In all, nearly $8 million is expected to be distributed to nine small businesses across the country as part of the Energy Department's latest round of its SunShot Initiative.

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