Solar Electric Power Assoc. Releases Community Solar Report

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The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) recently released a Community Solar Program Design Models report as part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Market Pathways program. The report is a resource for anyone interested in community solar, but is particularly useful to those involved in developing a community solar program in their community. The report details the current community solar design models, breaking down the program design into 12 key decisions and discussing which options are the most prevalent, as well as the ramifications of these decisions. For example, the report lays out the Four Steps to Community Solar Program Success: 1) “Identify clear program goals and conduct due diligence on your local market to ascertain whether these goals are feasible,” 2) “Select design options for the community solar program,” 3) “Identify marketing plan,” and 4) “Monitor program satisfaction.” The report finds that 60% of community solar programs are “utility-led,” like the program Xcel Energy is developing based on a mandate from the Minnesota Legislature, and 40% of programs are “third-party programs.” The report also contains the results of SEPA’s survey of all 68 active community solar program administrators to gather information about subscription rates, generating capacity, expansion, development time, and cost. SEPA’s next steps are to conduct customer research to determine potential subscriber preferences, and to assist utilities with design and implementation of new CSPs. The full report is available here (pdf).
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