U.S. Community Solar Industry Welcomes Introduction of New Legislation in the U.S. Senate

July 31st, 2017

Bill from Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich Would Expand Consumer Access to Solar Nationwide

Washington, D.C. (July 31, 2017)The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) welcomes newly introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to promote customer choice and the development of the community solar market nationwide. The Community Solar Consumer Choice Act of 2017 (S 1670) was introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) on Thursday, July 27, 2017 in the U.S. Senate to coincide with the First Annual CCSA Community Solar Summit, held in Denver last week with over 200 industry representatives.

“Community solar offers every American the opportunity to choose affordable, local clean energy,” said Jeff Cramer, Executive Director of the CCSA. “CCSA – and its 36 industry members – welcome United States Senators Bennet and Heinrich’s leadership to encourage the expansion of consumer choice and access to solar for all through this legislation.”

The new legislation makes permanent an existing U.S. Department of Energy program that promotes community solar by providing technical assistance at the request of state and local governments, and includes specific provisions focused on boosting community solar in low-income communities. The bill also encourages federal government participation in community solar nationwide.

Bill sponsor Senator Bennet published an op-ed on the bill hailing its introduction and highlighting community solar’s origins in Colorado, and importance for the country, writing on Medium that “Community solar is one of the most promising developments in renewable energy.”

“Clean Energy Collective pioneered the community solar business model in 2009, and has grown to employ over 100 workers out of our Louisville, CO headquarters, with hundreds more engineers and skilled laborers constructing and operating our projects across the country,” said Paul Spencer, CEO of Clean Energy Collective, one of the nation’s largest community solar providers. “We see firsthand the benefits these local clean energy projects bring to communities, consumers, and the electric grid, and it is our mission to make affordable community solar an option for everyone who wants it.”

CCSA continues to work to expand consumer choice and access to solar in states across the country. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have community solar programs in place, and the standing-room only CCSA Community Solar Summit and accompanying Senate legislation and Op-Ed demonstrate the excitement and opportunity around community solar as more and more states develop and implement new programs.

“Community solar provides win-wins for consumers: savings on their electric bill, and the knowledge that they’re supporting local, safe, reliable, clean power generation for the grid,” added Cramer.

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 About CCSA: Founded in February 2016, CCSA is a business-led trade organization that works to expand access to clean, local, affordable energy nationwide through community solar. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by individual community members, who receive credits on their electricity bills for their portion of the power produced. Community solar projects provide American homeowners, renters and businesses access to the benefits of solar energy generation unconstrained by the physical attributes of their home or business, like roof space, shading, or whether or not they own their residence or building. These programs can also expand access to solar energy to low-income households. For more information, visit the website at www.communitysolaraccess.org, follow the Coalition on Twitter at @solaraccess and