The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is celebrating Summer Solar Savings, a campaign to promote solar energy’s role in lowering electricity prices for low- and moderate-income U.S. families. Read the White House fact sheet, the DOE announcement, and follow along on social media using the hashtag #solarsavings.
What is Community Solar?
Community solar is 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. With community solar, renters, residents of multifamily buildings, and households that have roofs shaded by tree cover can sign up to be a part of a shared solar system and receive credits on their utility bill for the power their share of the solar system produces. 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. DOE’s community solar target is to power 5 million homes and provide 20% savings on a subscriber’s energy bills, up from 10% on average today, by 2025. Learn more about how community solar works.
New Community Solar Subscription Platform
DOE and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are collaborating on a Community Solar Subscription Platform, initially available only to Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) recipients, that will enable low-income households to subscribe to community solar projects with verified savings. This platform will reduce the cost of customer acquisition, lower household electricity bills, and speed the deployment of community solar projects. Learn more about how the program works and register for an informational webinar on August 2 at 2 p.m. ET.
DOE is looking for your input on the new Community Solar Subscription Platform. Respond to the request for information by August 31.
Community Solar and Utility Allowances Guidance
In the past, households that rely on federal assistance have faced barriers to accessing the benefits that come with participation in a community solar program—especially financial benefits—but one of the largest barriers has been removed. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced federal guidance (PDF) that would allow the 4.5 million families in HUD-assisted rental housing to subscribe to community solar and lower their energy costs. Learn more about the new guidance and how it affects the utility allowance for HUD-assisted housing residents.
New Funding for Solar Workforce Development
DOE announced the Advancing Equity through Workforce Partnerships funding opportunity. Funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this $10 million program will support the development of workforce programs and partnerships that enable the accelerated deployment of solar energy while advancing the Administration’s priorities around equity and worker empowerment. The Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) seeks applications from diverse teams of training providers, labor unions, non-profit community-based organizations, solar developers, educational institutions (including minority-serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities), tribal entities, and local governments. Register for an informational webinar on August 4 at 2 p.m. ET and submit a letter of intent by September 13.
Apply for the Sunny Awards
The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar highlights the best community solar programs and projects that deliver meaningful benefits to community solar subscribers and their communities. Five competitors will receive $10,000. Finalists will be included in a video series to be released at the NCSP Summit in late January 2023. Register for a webinar about the Sunny Awards on August 18 at 3 p.m. ET and submit your application by October 7 at 5 p.m. ET.
Community Solar Blog Posts
National Community Solar Partnership
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 and join the partnership today!