Community Solar

Community Solar for the Southeast Project

The 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. 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 they are 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.

A community solar program allows utility customers to sign up to receive a portion of the output of the system. Some programs require an upfront purchase of a share of the PV system but many others offer a no-obligation monthly subscription in discrete sized blocks of solar power. In some cases, the utility may find that solar electricity is the lowest cost electricity available, and then decide to provide the cost savings to all of the utilities’ customers.

The project uses a stakeholder engagement process during Phase I to set goals for community solar programs and to develop a Guide to Designing and Implementing Community Solar Projects at Public Power Utilities in the Southeast. Phase II will involve targeted outreach to all cooperative and municipal utilities in the southeast, and personalized technical assistance using the Guide developed in Phase I to help develop and implement community solar programs.

This project is funded as a part the SunShot grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Project Partners:

North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Savannah River National Laboratory, Fayetteville Public Works Commission, Roanoke Electric Cooperative, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Electricities, Rocky Mountain Institute, Strata Solar, Geenex and GreenLink

Contact Info:

To learn how to start a solar project in your community, please reach us as at communitysolar@ncsu.edu

Technical Resources

Community Solar Program Design for Fayetteville Public Works Commission
Technical Services Offerings for the electric municipal utilities and electric cooperatives

Policy Resources:

Literature Review: Community Solar in the Southeast
Project Handbook: Community Solar in the Southeast
State Profiles: Community Solar in the Southeast
Working Group Plan
Community Solar in the Southeast: Gap Analysis Report (working draft)

Webinar 1: Resource Assessment (August 10, 2017)

Community Solar for the Southeast: Resource Assessment (Video)
Got Community Solar? (PPT)
Community Solar Technical Assistance (PPT)
Solar Made Easy (PPT)

Webinar 2: Gap Analysis and Working Group Launch (September 19, 2017)

Community Solar for the Southeast: Gap Analysis (Video)
Gaps and Challenges for Community Solar in the Southeast (PDF)
Rocky Mountain Institute Shine Project overview (PDF)