Blog Archives

Solarize Programs Toolkit

December 18, 2015 by
Solarize programs are a way for municipalities and other organizations to coordinate group purchases of solar systems through a community-based campaign. Solarize programs can lower the cost of solar installations, provide lasting increases in installation rates, and jump-start local solar markets. This toolkit provides an overview of the key issues and directs readers to comprehensive resources, best practices, and lessons learned from previously implemented Solarize campaigns.

BENCHMARKING THE SOLARIZE MODEL: A SURVEY OF CAMPAIGN ORGANIZERS

September 28, 2015 by
Solarize is an effective means for communities to encourage the growth of local solar markets, and since 2009 more than 230 campaigns have been implemented in 25 states. Organizing a Solarize campaign can be a daunting task, and there is a great variety in the ways that a community could design and manage a campaign. This national survey of Solarize campaign organizers is intended to allow communities to learn from the experience of previous campaign and draw inspiration in the formation of their own campaigns. The report gauges common trends in program design, reveals the typical resource requirements and results of campaigns, and discusses common challenges and effective campaign strategies.

Solar for Safety, Security, and Resilience Toolkit

June 17, 2015 by
There is a growing interest in using renewable energy options like solar to improve community resiliency. During extreme weather events, solar can help prevent power outages by providing emergency energy to critical facilities and recovery efforts. Solar can provide electricity to remote or less accessible areas, and is flexible enough to be a mobile or Read More »

Solar for Economic Development Toolkit

June 17, 2015 by
Most people are familiar with solar energy’s environmental benefits, but solar energy adoption also presents numerous economic and community development opportunities. Solar expands local markets, reduces electricity costs, improves business competitiveness, and increases property values. It leads to short term jobs in construction, installation, and site development as well as long term positions in facility Read More »

Bainbridge Island City Hall Community Solar Project

May 7, 2015 by
Community Energy Solutions’ Joe Deets discusses the Bainbridge Island City Hall Community Solar project, in this National Association of Regional Councils podcast. Deets played a vital role in spearheading legislation that allows people in Washington State to invest in Community Solar projects. As a result, Community Energy Solutions partnered with the City of Bainbridge Island to create an investor-funded Community Solar project at its City Hall. Deets discusses this solar initiative from its inception in 2005 to its completion in 2012.

Community Shared Solar: Expansions Underway in Solar America Communities

November 17, 2014 by
Community shared solar is expanding rapidly as a model ownership structure for solar PV. By offering customers an option to purchase or lease part of a larger solar array instead of having to purchase the entire system, the model greatly expands participatory opportunities to a large new market segment of citizens and customers, with very low or no cost to local government. This report provides an overview of the status of community shared solar projects in Solar America Communities as of September, 2014, as well as some of the differences and similarities between the creation and structure of these programs.

Model Solar Guidelines: A Resource for North Carolina Homeowners’ Associations to Facilitate Solar Projects

November 13, 2014 by
As North Carolina's residential solar market grows, more homeowners' associations are facing uncertainties about how to deal with solar installations in their communities. As part of an effort between the State Energy Program, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources and members of the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership (The Solar Foundation and the NC Clean Energy Technology Center), two new resources have been developed to help North Carolina homeowners' associations (HOAs) and their architectural review committees work through these issues.

Mt. Pleasant Solar Co-op Fact Sheet

November 7, 2014 by
The solar co-op model focuses on educating the community on solar and draws on the skills and resources of its members to advance the porgram’s goals.  Mt. Pleasant was able to develop a successful solar co-op that now has over 200 members from over 70 households. Mt Pleasant Solar Co-op Fact Sheet Click for full Read More »

Everything About Solar: A Strategic Training Session for Local Governments – Torrance, CA

October 15, 2014 by
South Bay Cities Council of Governments hosted a day-long solar energy workshop for local governments and their key stakeholders in Torrance, CA on October 6th, 2014. This interactive workshop – covering topics including solar financing, updating local solar regulations, and local government solar procurement – is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership’s technical Read More »

Resources for Solar Powering Your Community

September 22, 2014 by
The SolarOPs team created a list of resources to assist local governments and regional councils bolster solar development. The resources include comprehensive guides as well as specific information on solar-ready building design, campaign organizing, zoning codes, expedited permitting, net metering, and interconnection. Click HERE to access the resource list.