The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has awarded the Energy Trust of Oregon the State & Local Government Achievement of the Year award for their solar cost reduction initiative. This multi-year plan has helped make solar systems easier to install and more affordable. A large part of this initiative was reducing “soft costs,” the non-hardware costs associated with installing a solar system, which can account for more than 50% of the total system cost for customers. These soft costs include permitting, inspection, and installation labor. “Reducing soft costs ultimately leads to savings for the customer, thriving solar businesses that contribute directly to our local economy and more renewable power produced in Oregon,” said Jeni Hall, solar project manager, accepting the award on behalf of Energy Trust. “We’re already seeing success with this effort,” continued Hall. “As one example, working with the Oregon Department of Energy, we combined the residential solar application process for customers receiving both an Energy Trust cash incentive and a state energy tax credit into one simple online process. A change that contractors say is saving two hours per project.” Read more about IREC’s Best of 2015 award-winning projects here. Read a press release from the Energy Trust of Oregon here.