Oct 11, 2021 - Energy & Environment

A new plan to boost community solar

Annual community solar additions
Data: Solar Energy Industries Association; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The Energy Department is launching new efforts to boost "community solar" — a form of development that provides access to people ill-equipped to install rooftop systems.

Driving the news: DOE just launched the "National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP)," which brings together the agency, developers, local and state governments and more.

  • The goal is enough community solar development to power 5 million households by 2025.

How it works: Community solar helps provide renewables to people who can't install panels because they live in multi-unit buildings, aren't homeowners or lack the resources.

  • Multiple customers subscribe to power from a solar project — typically in the same region — and receive credits on their power bills.
  • It's a small part of overall nationwide solar deployment, but it has been growing significantly (see chart above) and attracting new capital. There's currently enough to power 600,000 households, per DOE.

What's next: The NCSP provides technical assistance (such as project financing analysis), networking, case studies, research and more.

  • It has provided $1 million in technical assistance and plans to provide another $2 million in the next year, DOE said.

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