As part of the SunShot Initiative to make solar energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels within the decade, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the availability of more than $27 million in new funding June 1 that will reduce the non-hardware costs of solar energy projects. The funding will support a $12.5 million Rooftop Solar challenge to encourage cities and counties to compete to streamline and digitize permitting processes, as well as $15 million that will be made to advance innovations in information technology systems, local zoning, and building codes, and regulations.