The Coalition for Community Solar Access is a national Coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar for all American households and businesses through community solar. Our mission is to empower every American energy consumer with the option to choose local, clean, and affordable community solar. We work with customers, utilities, local stakeholders, and policymakers to develop and implement policies and best practices that ensure community solar programs provide a win, win, win for all, starting with the customer.
WHAT IS COMMUNITY SOLAR?
Today, only a small minority of American households and businesses have access to solar because they rent, live in multitenant buildings, have roofs that are unable to host a solar system, or experience some other mitigating factor.
Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. This model for solar is being rapidly adopted nationwide.
Community solar provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the physical attributes or ownership of their home or business. Community solar expands access to solar for all, including in particular low-to-moderate income customers most impacted by a lack of access, all while building a stronger, distributed, and more resilient electric grid.
WHY CHOOSE COMMUNITY SOLAR?
Equal Access: Community solar works for anyone with an electric bill, including renters, residents in multi-unit buildings, municipalities, non-profits and businesses that don’t own their roofs. That means community solar can give ALL Americans equal access to solar for the first time.
Favorable Economics: Sunshine is free, which means solar offers reliable energy at a predictable rate for decades. And because community solar projects are optimally sited, professionally maintained, and built at scale, consumers can save even more money.
It’s Easy: Customers can sign up to participate in a community solar project in a few minutes and begin receiving power production credits on their next utility bill. No contractor visits, permits, or maintenance means no hassle.
It’s Mobile: Community solar allows customers to move within the utility territory and still retain their participation in the community solar project, making it an easy, portable energy solution.
Utility Partnerships: The community solar model is based on a mutually beneficial relationship with utilities, allowing them to provide a product their customers want—locally-made clean energy.
A 2015 NREL and DOE report estimates that nearly 50% of consumers and businesses are unable to host photovoltaic (PV) systems, but there are many reasons why shared renewables might be preferred for a home, business, or individual. Here are a few examples:
- Renters may be prohibited from installing solar on the property
- The roof may be too shaded or will need re-roofing during the solar warranty period
- The size, type, or orientation of the roof may be improper
- Some commercial buildings have equipment on the roof, obstructing an installation
- Multi-tenant dwellings or businesses may not own their rooftop
- A homeowner does not want construction or maintenance personnel on their property
- A homeowner is planning to move in the near to mid future
- The customer is not able to afford a residential system
CCSA CORE PRINCIPLES
We promote policies, programs, and practices that:
1. Allow all consumers the opportunity to participate in and directly economically benefit from the construction and operation of new clean energy assets.
2. Provide equal access for developers to build and operate community shared renewable energy systems and interconnect those systems to the serving utility’s grid.
3. Incorporate a fair bill credit mechanism that provides subscribers with an economic benefit commensurate with the value of the long-term, clean, locally-sited energy produced by community shared renewable energy projects.
4. Support the participation of diverse customer types in renewable energy markets, and encourage customer choice with providers, product features, and attributes to catalyze innovation and best serve customers.
5. Provide assurance of on-going program operations and maintenance to ensure overall quality, that the facility lasts for decades, and that customer participation is protected. Safeguard the continuity of program benefits to protect customers and developers’ investment.
6. Ensure full and accurate disclosure of customer benefits and risks in a standard, comparable manner that presents customers with performance and cost transparency.
7. Comply with applicable securities, tax, and consumer protection laws to reduce customer risk and protect the customer.
8. Encourage transparent, non-discriminatory utility rules on siting, and interconnecting projects, and collaboration with utilities to facilitate efficient siting and interconnection.
9. Maintain a 360-degree view of community shared renewable energy market and ensure a beneficial role for all parties in the partnerships forged between subscriber, developer, and utility.