Distributed Energy Resources

National Community Solar Partnership

The American Public Power Association (APPA) is a partner in the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) an initiative led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.  As a leader in the NCSP Municipal Utility Collaborative, APPA works with stakeholders to identify and address common barriers to community-based solar. Technical assistance is provided by DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as participants seek to create and demonstrate practical, effective, and scalable community solar models.

Municipal utilities are invited to join and gain access to a peer-to-peer network of municipal utilities focused on accelerating community solar for American households. Those who join the collaborative will work with DOE, subject matter experts, and peers to set goals and overcome persistent barriers to expanding community solar access.


The Community Solar Guidebook and Webinar

APPA’s Community Solar Guidebook serves as a roadmap for public power utilities to navigate community solar program design, particularly in low-to-moderate income and rural areas. Copyright 2020. 72 Pages. Visit the APPA Store to order a Hard Copy or a Digital Version of this publication.

In the accompanying DEED Webinar: Increasing Access to Community Solar Programs, the team who developed the Community Solar Guidebook share their experience building community solar. The Guidebook and Webinar were developed with funding from a Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Development’s, DEED grant to WPPI Energy.

Introduction to Community Shared Solar

This publication discusses how utilities can build a solar program with multiple participants and stakeholders. It describes the options for building a shared solar program and includes potential funding sources, developer and utility-driven projects, and a reference list of solar programs. Introduction to Community Shared Solar was developed with funding from a DEED grant to Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). Copyright 2013. 44 pages. Available from the APPA Store as a PDF, Digital Version, only.

Fact Sheet: Understanding Community Solar

2020 Article: The sun shines for all: Community solar for low-income populations

2021 Engineering and Operations Virtual Conference Presentation: Making Community Solar Work for Public Power

This session explored the opportunities, challenges, and latest developments about community solar from the Department of Energy and from public power utilities. Participants dove into what factors public power utilities examined to make for a successful community solar program through a recent DEED project and learned about recent progress in APPA’s ongoing work with the national labs in solving public power community solar challenges.


National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) Working Group

A wide variety of public power utilities are participating in a working group that will help them develop a business case for an exploratory or site-specific community solar project. Representatives from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Department of Energy (DOE) and APPA meet with working group members on a monthly basis to identify and address common barriers to community-based solar. Technical assistance is provided by DOE NREL as participants seek to create and demonstrate practical, effective, and scalable community solar models. Read a profile on Working Group members

Community Solar Newsletter

Email [email protected] to be added to our Community Solar Interest Group, an email list serving 120+ utility staff. Utilities seeking to make community solar accessible and affordable for their customers may be interested in the following recordings of Interest Group meetings:

Your Community Solar Networking Platform

If you would like to sign up to be an NCSP partner and have access to a community forum of potential collaborators, ideas, tips, and resources, you can register on the Mobilize Platform https://ncsp.mobilize.io/registrations/groups/39758. This site provides a pathway to technical assistance and collaboration for all those who are interested in community solar. Sign Up Now


2021 APPA Business and Finance Conference in Denver, Colorado

When: Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021 from 8:30-9:45AM 

Session Title: Community Solar Financing Options 

CPE Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge 

Community solar enables customers who do not otherwise have the capability of investing in rooftop solar to participate in solar programs. They also provide utilities an opportunity to add solar generation to their portfolio. This session explores the financing options for both the utility and the customer. What are the options for utilities to pay for this solar investment? And how can customers pay for their participation through rates or other mechanisms? 

Click here to learn more about or register for the conference.

2021 APPA Customer Connections Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona

When: Tuesday, October 26th, from 3:15 – 4:30PM 

Session Title: Learning from Public Power Peers: Making Community Solar Work for You   

Join your public power peers to share experiences and lessons learned while pursuing community solar. In collaboration with APPA, the National Community Solar Partnership, and experts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, a cohort of utilities has been meeting monthly to support each other with community solar development subjects such as project scoping, exploring customer demand, and siting considerations. In this session, working group members will present on the steps they’ve taken during this process, and you will have the chance to make connections and talk with fellow public power utilities interested in community solar solutions. 

Click here to learn more about or register for the conference.

Coming Soon

  • Database of Community Solar information from NREL
  • Public-power-focused case studies for every stage of community solar development from APPA
  • Networking opportunities
  • Technical Assistance opportunities