The National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) is a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to affordable community solar to every American household and enable communities to realize other benefits, such as increased resilience and workforce development. The Partnership is a U.S. Department of Energy initiative led by the Solar Energy Technologies Office, in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Partners leverage peer networks and technical assistance resources to set goals and overcome barriers to expanding community solar access for disadvantaged communities.

The Partnership is open to any individual or organization with an interest in supporting equitable community solar development in the U.S., with many partners representing:

  • State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Governments
  • Community-Based Organizations
  • Non-Profits
  • Financial Allies
  • Solar Developers
  • Subscriber Organizations
  • Municipal, Co-op, and Investor-Owned Utilities
This graphic shows the different categories of partners.

Partnership Goals

The National Community Solar Partnership aims to:

  • Make community solar accessible to every U.S. household;
  • Ensure community solar is affordable for every U.S. household; and
  • Enable communities to realize additional meaningful benefits and value streams from community solar installations.

To achieve these goals, the National Community Solar Partnership provides technical assistance, tools, resources, and information to an array of national and local stakeholders  to support them in designing and implementing successful community solar models.

Approach

To meet these goals, NCSP provides an array of national and local stakeholders—state, local, and tribal governments, utilities, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and others—the tools and information they need to design and implement successful community solar models. The partnership will provide these through three major activities:

  • Stakeholder Network: Partners have access to an online community platform, virtual and in-person meetings, webinars, and other tools to engage with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) staff and each other.
  • Technical Assistance: Partners have access to technical assistance resources from DOE, its National Laboratories, and independent third-party subject-matter experts for support on unique local challenges.
  • Collaboration: Structured groups of partners, called collaboratives, form around specific goals to address common barriers to solar adoption by learning from each other and sharing resources.

History

The National Community Solar Partnership was developed to build off of the success of the Solar in Your Community Challenge, which was a prize competition launched in 2017 to identify innovative approaches to support solar deployment among underserved markets, including low- and moderate-income populations, nonprofit organizations, and other community-serving entities, such as municipal governments. The National Community Solar Partnership program received additional funding in 2019 to increase access to community solar for low- and moderate-income Americans through technical assistance, its stakeholder network, and peer-learning collaboratives.


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