In December 2017, the NCCETC and the NC Justice Center hosted a half day workshop in Raleigh to tackle the unprecedented in the southeast: the potential for rural electric cooperatives (Coops) and/or municipal electric utilities (Munis) to design community solar programs to serve low income residents in their service areas. The event brought together thirty eight representatives from low income and solar advocacy groups, solar developers, attorneys, Coops and Munis; groups that do not often sit down together to discuss a worthy subject: how can low income households benefit from free energy from the sun.
Community solar projects are ground-mounted PV systems that are generally smaller than other utility-scale solar projects. They are large enough to provide low-cost solar electricity, yet small enough to be more flexible about where they can be located, allowing the utility to better take advantage of localized benefits that they can provide. Customers contribute to development cost of the system and in return receive a proportionate output from the community solar credited on their electricity bill. For low income families the value of community solar depends on the potential to reduce their electricity bills.
In case you missed this groundbreaking workshop, review the agenda and presentations below
Introduction (Anne Tazewell, Special Projects Manager, NC Clean Energy Technology Center)
Community Solar for Low Income Benefits & Barriers (Laurel Passera, Policy Analyst, EQ Research)
Solar Project Economics (Dave Scoglio, Chief Financial Officer, Strata Solar)
Community Solar in the Southeast Low Income Customer Program Design (Alfred Ripley, Director Consumer and Housing Project, NC Justice Center)
Value of Community Solar (Achyut Shrestha, Analyst, NC Clean Energy Technology Center)
While you are at it: Don’t miss the following related reports Community Solar for the Southeast Gap Analysis Report and Community Solar Policy Landscape in the Southeast: profiles on nine states’ electric cooperative and municipal utilities community solar efforts. If you have updates on your efforts, curious about the technical assistance we can provide and/or want to get involved in peer review of our community solar activities, let us know.
The U.S. Department of Energy sponsored Community Solar for the Southeast project aims to accelerate the installation of community solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at municipal and cooperative electric utilities across the southeast. The project provides outreach and technical support to coops and munis to develop community solar programs at no-cost to the utility.