USDOE: A Guide to Community Solar
This guide is designed as a resource for those who want to develop community solar projects, from community organizers or solar energy advocates to government officials or utility managers. By exploring the range of incentives and policies while providing examples of operational community solar projects, this guide will help communities to plan and implement successful local energy projects. In addition, by highlighting some of the policy best practices, this guide suggests changes in the regulatory landscape that could significantly boost community solar installations across the country. The information in this guide is organized around three sponsorship models: utility-sponsored projects, projects sponsored by special purpose entities – businesses formed for the purpose of producing community solar power, and non-profit sponsored projects. The guide addresses issues common to all project models, as well as issues unique to each model. This guide focuses on projects designed to increase access to solar energy and to reduce up-front costs for participants. The secondary goals met by many Community Solar projects include: Improved economies of scale, Optimal project siting, Increased public understanding of solar energy, Generation of local jobs, Opportunity to test new models of marketing, project financing and service delivery.