The National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) is a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to affordable community solar to every U.S. household and enable subscribers and their communities to realize meaningful benefits, such as reduced energy burden, increased resilience, community ownership, and equitable workforce development. Learn more about NCSP.
The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar is a $100,000 prize competition that recognizes community solar projects and programs that employ or develop best practices to increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities. Apply by Oct. 7!
What is Community Solar?
The Department of Energy (DOE) defines community solar as any solar project or purchasing program, within a geographic area, in which the benefits of a solar project flow to multiple customers such as individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and other groups. Often, customers subscribe to a portion of the energy produced by solar panels located somewhere in their community. Sometimes, they may buy or lease individual solar panels in an array. Community solar subscribers typically receive an electric bill credit for electricity generated by their share of the community solar system—similar to someone who has rooftop panels installed on their home.
Why Community Solar?
Community solar programs make the benefits of solar more accessible to all Americans, particularly to those with low-to-moderate incomes, renters, residents living in multifamily buildings, or households without adequate roof space or solar exposure. Rather than putting solar on their own home or building, community solar allows energy users to subscribe to a shared system of solar panels, often located within their community. Community solar allows community members of all types to access the meaningful benefits of renewable energy, including reduced energy costs, increased resilience, ownership and wealth building, and equitable workforce development.
Community Solar and the Justice40 Initiative
The National Community Solar Partnership works closely with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity to align efforts on creating equitable access to community solar. The Energy Department is working to meet the goals established in the Justice40 Initiative, which requires that 40% of overall benefits of certain Federal investments—including investments in clean energy and energy efficiency—flow to disadvantaged communities.
Justice40 requires Federal programs to magnify existing commitments to equity and racial justice. It also challenges programs to do more, to go further, and to seek out new opportunities for collaboration, engagement, and innovation. NCSP will build on the important partnerships DOE program offices have with community stakeholders, Tribal nations, and communities of color, as well as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and minority serving institutions. NCSP will also amplify commitments to research, development, and deployment in communities thus far left behind in the energy transition. Learn more about the steps NCSP has taken to ensure the equitable distribution of the benefits of clean energy investments.
The National Community Solar Partnership is an active group of community members, developers, utilities, financial institutions, governments, and other stakeholders dedicated to increasing access to community solar for all U.S. households. Partners receive access to technical assistance, resources, training, events, and a platform for connecting with other collaborative partners. Register on our Mobilize website to join the partnership today!