Easier Rooftop Installation = Cheaper Solar Power
Making Large-Scale Solar Rooftop Deployment PossibleOver the past few decades, the cost of solar panels has dropped so much that factors that used to be kind of afterthoughts are now becoming very significant. In some commercial rooftop projects, the panels themselves are now less than half of the total cost, with the rest going to installation, power electronics, etc. This means that we're now at the point where figuring out an easier and quicker way to install the panels can provide bigger benefits than a new cheaper/more efficient solar panel technology. Thankfully, there are some nice low-hanging fruits to be harvested there, since a lot of rooftop solar panel installation so has been kind of ad hoc and sub-optimized.
As has been shown in other industries, a lot of efficiency can be gained from standardization, integrating and simplifying processes (f.ex. what used to take 10 steps now takes 4..), and going for economies of scale.
A good example of this is Solon's SOLfixx PV system, which you can see in the pictures above. The company claims that its system can reduce the time needed for solar rooftop installation by more than half, greatly reducing costs (labor costs alone are about 30% of the total cost of a solar rooftop system -- how much you save depends on local labor costs).
Solon is just used as an example here, but other companies are doing similar things. These types of innovations can make PV solar more affordable, both to companies with lots of flat rooftops that could be used to generate power, or for citizens who own homes and would like to generate their own clean electricity.