In September 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office hosted two virtual convenings of community-based and community-focused organizations (CBOs). At these convenings, 75 organizations shared their perspectives on barriers to deploying community solar and opportunities and needs for increasing equitable access to community solar within the communities they represent. CBO feedback covered a range of barriers and needs, including capacity building, funding, program design, and policy and regulatory environments. The National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) released a report that summarizes the feedback received during these convenings.

Read the full report here.

A summary table of the feedback received during these convenings is below.


Potential Solutions

Organizational Capacity
  • Resources, technical assistance, and training on the process of developing community solar
  • Funding to support capacity building and project design
  • More flexible application timelines for funding and technical assistance 
Policy and Regulation
  • Comprehensive resources on state, federal, and utility policies, incentives, and regulations
  • Training and educational resources for community members on engaging with regulatory bodies and policymakers
  • Funding to compensate community members and CBOs for participation in rulemaking or program design processes
Societal and Structural Barriers
  • Improved community engagement prior to launching community solar projects
  • Community solar stories that represent the diversity of solar to broaden perspectives on who can be a solar stakeholder subscribers and system owners
  • Tangible and transparent metrics for Justice40 work, including workforce development, community ownership, and wealth metrics
  • Improved interagency collaboration (FEMA, HUD, USDA, etc.)
Program Design and Outreach
  • Case studies on different program designs, organized by common barriers
  • Technical assistance and training on program design elements (i.e., subscription models, legal guidance, contract development, outreach methods)
  • DOE-branded educational materials
Subscription Management and Income Verification
  • Guidance on simple, efficient, streamlined, and least intrusive income verification practices
  • Platform to connect Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) recipients with community solar subscriptions
  • Training on outreach, engagement, and messaging for subscriber enrollment
Financing and Tax Credits
  • Alternative to the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
  • Information on alternative financing strategies for community-owned solar
  • Direct funds to offset predevelopment costs or incentivize community ownership
  • Research on valuation of community solar benefits (i.e., resilience, demand reduction)
Project Development and Resilience
  • Technical assistance on siting and interconnection
  • Direct funding or incentives for projects that include storage or microgrids
  • Tools to identify community solar development target sites 
  • Facilitate connections between community solar developers and federal, state, and local job training initiatives


The feedback gathered during these events informed the development of the NCSP target and pathway to success initiatives. It is now supporting the work of the States Collaborative and other community-focused efforts and will continue to inform NCSP efforts moving forward.

To learn more about the National Community Solar Partnership and its work with CBOs, please join the Partnership or email