These resources help communities explore financing mechanisms and other important financial considerations related to solar implementation. Highlights include: Financing 101, Solarize Programs, PACE, Aggregated Purchasing, Power Purchase Agreements, and Renewable Energy Credits.

Use the side bar on the left to navigate through the resource sub-categories.

Solar Financing and Economic Development

Understanding how solar PV projects are financed (and understanding the tools necessary to understand solar-related economic development) is critical for any local government looking to grow their local solar market. This toolkit is intended to provide readers with many of the key resources necessary for understanding both the basics of solar finance and economic development and some of the important nuances that must be considered when promoting or pursuing associated policies or other related activities.

Solarize Programs Toolkit

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.

Renewable Cities

This brief highlights two very different financing mechanisms used by local governments in Georgetown, Texas and Rockford, Minnesota to increase their renewable energy. Georgetown is expected to get 100% of its electricity–at all times of the day and seasons of the year–from solar and wind energy. Rockford worked with its local electricity cooperative to site solar energy on otherwise unusable municipal property. The solar projects spearheaded by both local governments resulted in reduced electricity costs, saving taxpayer dollars.


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.

Regional Solar Deployment Handbook

This handbook created by the National Association of Regional Councils is a comprehensive guide to implementing solar energy at the regional level. The handbook identifies seven key strategies that regional councils can use to successfully drive solar adoption in their jurisdictions. Focused on regionally-specific actions, tools and case studies, this handbook seeks to be a Read More »

Regional Collaborative Procurement for Solar PV

Learn how through collaborative procurement, communities can reduce the up-front costs of solar installations by working together as a group to evaluate project sites, procure solar systems and negotiate contracts, thus yielding much lower transaction costs for each individual partner.  

Solar for Economic Development Toolkit

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

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.

Commercial PACE: Facts & Benefits

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a financing program, supported by state and local governments, designed to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency technology adoption. Commercial PACE programs help property owners cover the upfront costs associated with the technologies installed during building retrofits that help make the building’s operations more environmentally sustainable.

Solar on Multi-Unit Buildings: Policy and Financing Options to Address Split Incentives

Multi-unit buildings, including apartment complexes and office buildings, are ubiquitous in the U.S. and offer a relatively untapped opportunity for rooftop solar. The costs and benefits of going solar, however, are not always aligned, as building occupants pay the electric bills while the building owner typically pays the costs of energy improvements. This factsheet highlights policy and financing options to address this “split-incentive” problem.