Sara Bergan and Sarah Johnson Phillips Look at Where Community Solar is Headed in the New Decade


Energy law attorneys Sara Bergan and Sarah Johnson Phillips contributed an article to POWER magazine titled “Community Solar: Ready for the New Decade,” published February 3, 2020. The authors look at the popular community solar programs, which allow equal access to the benefits of solar energy for homeowners, renters, and businesses that for a variety of reasons are unable to install photovoltaic systems.

Several models for community solar programs are in use, but consumers generally subscribe to a portion of a local solar facility and receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced.

New community solar programs have the benefit of being able to try to apply the lessons learned by established programs. The authors look at advances made by stable programs in such areas as:

  • Finding the right balance for program and project size
  • Determining appropriate compensation levels for stakeholders
  • Ensuring access to the benefits of solar energy for all customers

Interest in the programs remains strong, with the Solar Energy Industries Association predicting that the market could expand by as much as 3.5 GW in the next five years. Bergan and Johnson Phillips conclude: “Community solar’s innovations in compensation structures, financial models, and community engagement have set it on a path toward growth and maturity for its second decade. Successful programs serve as examples for the electric sector as it modernizes and continues its transition to carbon-free resources, and to serving wider swaths of the economy and more engaged customers.”

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