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.


Fact Sheet (1-page PDF): Understanding Community Solar
The Community Solar Guidebook and Webinar (2020)

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 Developments (DEED) grant to WPPI Energy.

Introduction to Community Shared Solar (2013)

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.

Under Development: Community Solar Guidebook for Public Power Utilities

When complete, this guidebook-style publication will assist public power utilities as they plan and implement their first community solar project.

Catch a sneak preview of guidebook chapters here:

  1. NCSP Workbook Summary - Ch 1.pdf, Defining Community Solar Project Goals & Objectives for your Utility
  2. NCSP Workbook Summary - Ch 2.pdf, Gauging Market Potential and Customer Appetite
  3. NCSP Workbook Summary - Ch 3.pdf, Community Solar Project Siting

Sign up for chapter summaries and other NCSP news by emailing [email protected]

2020 Article (web article): The sun shines for all: Community solar for low-income populations
2021 Customer Connections Conference Presentation (slide deck): 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.

2021 Customer Connections Conference Presentation (slide deck)

In this conference session, NCSP's Municipal Utility working group members presented on the steps they took during the process of beginning their first community solar project.

Technical Assistance

Can your community solar project benefit from expert support, research, or resources? The National Community Solar Partnership is thrilled to announce the expansion of its free Technical Assistance program, which now accepts applications on a rolling basis! Since 2019, the NCSP Technical Assistance program has provided support to 50 NCSP partners across 24 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands through three rounds of technical assistance. In its new, rolling format, the NCSP Technical Assistance program will now be able to support more partners with the resources to help them swiftly and successfully implement community solar projects that ensure access to meaningful benefits for all.

Once you are an NCSP partner, you are eligible to request free technical assistance*. If any Municipal Utilities are not partners already, here is the link to register – it is free and open to any organization based in the US: https://ncsp.solarinyourcommunity.org/registrations/groups/39758

When your organization is ready, fill out a brief application (which you can find in the ‘Quick Links’ section of the ‘Resources’ tab in the NCSP online community platform), and you will be contacted shortly by NCSP's technical assistance team!

NCSP partners are welcome to request technical assistance in any of the following subject areas:

  • Policy, legislation, and regulation research
  • Project financing analysis
  • Outreach and engagement strategies
  • Program design
  • Technical issues

TA support will be allocated based on the scope of your project’s need and may include resources such as:

  • Consultation on program processes and policies and technical review of proposed plans and models
  • Technical and financial analysis and modeling of potential program costs, benefits and impacts
  • Custom research such as market studies or third-party white papers
  • Custom publications such as toolkits, tip sheets, or case studies

Questions? Reach out to the NCSP team at [email protected]

*Partners may not receive technical assistance for work that is supported by other Department of Energy funding. The requestor must be a U.S. citizen or a representative of an organization that is legally formed in the U.S. and with a primary place of business in the U.S.”


National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) Working Group

A wide variety of public power utilities participated in a working group that helped 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 met with working group members on a monthly basis to identify and address common barriers to community-based solar. Technical assistance was provided by DOE and NREL as participants sought 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.

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