The Obama administration says 68 cities, states and businesses have joined its National Community Solar Partnership to promote community solar, with an emphasis on scaling up solar for low- and moderate-income households.
The partnership is a collaboration between the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, representatives from solar companies, non-governmental organizations, and state and local community leaders.
The National Community Solar Partnership was formed in response to the research of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s 2012 Guide to Community Shared Solar, which provides a framework for the development of this model for solar deployment in communities.
The members have agreed to work together to encourage the public and private sectors to expand access to community solar while drawing on the technical expertise of the DOE and its national laboratories. This includes working on greater usage of existing federal and state resources, sharing best practices at the state level, developing new financing arrangements and business models and seeking new approaches to customer acquisition and community building, including multifamily deployment considerations.
For example, Clean Energy Collective (CEC) has developed a program that allows investor-owned utilities to own and rate-base community arrays without non-participant subsidization or upward pressure on rates. This program builds upon its efforts to partner with utilities in implementing community solar programs. Prompted by New York’s newly enacted shared renewables program, CEC is bringing community solar to that state.