Powering Strong Communities

DOE Unveils Several New Initiatives Aimed At Removing Community Solar Barriers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Jan. 25 unveiled several new initiatives to remove barriers to the deployment of community solar. 

Together, the initiatives will help achieve the National Community Solar Partnership's (NCSP) target to enable community solar to power the equivalent of five million households and create $1 billion in energy bill savings by 2025, DOE said.

The American Public Power Association is a member of NCSP, which is a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to affordable community solar.

Attendees at NCSP’s annual summit on Jan. 25 discussed NCSP’s “Pathway to Success,” a plan to address persistent barriers to equitable access.

The plan has five focus areas: developing community solar knowledge and know-how, expanding state-level programs, improving access to financing, reducing customer acquisition barriers and broadening awareness of the benefits of community solar programs.

The initiatives supporting this pathway include:

  • A new States Collaborative, engaging nearly half of the nation's states and the District of Columbia, which will support expansion and development of new community solar programs at the state level. This will be made up of state energy officials and program administrators and by providing best practices, technical assistance, and opportunities for direct peer-to-peer learning.
  • The Credit Ready Solar Initiative, which will help community solar developers better access project financing. This initiative will bring together lenders, philanthropic institutions, and community solar developers -- especially those that are community-based or serve low- to moderate-income households -- to create standard processes and a marketplace for deploying project capital.
  • A $2 million NCSP Technical Assistance program, which is offered on a rolling basis at no cost to NCSP partners and provides personalized support to help them accelerate implementation, improve the performance of their program or project, and build capacity for future community solar development.

Additional information about NCSP is available here.