Cleantech Market Intelligence
Community Solar Program Design and Procurement Considerations
With interest in community solar continuing to grow, utilities are asking questions and facing similar challenges as they work through program design and solar procurement. As part of the US Department of Energy’s SunShot-funded Community Solar Value Project (CSVP), Navigant has spent the past year conversing with utilities, developers, and program designers that are experienced in developing community solar projects with the goal of sharing best practices and lessons learned. Navigant advises both utilities interested in developing community solar programs and developers/financiers that are considering entering the market.
On December 1, CSVP hosted a recorded webinar titled Smarter Procurement for Community Solar Solutions. During the presentation, I led a conversation between Erin Buchanan from Cedar Falls Utilities in Iowa, Karen Poff from Austin Energy, and Ricardo Luna from CPS Energy in San Antonio discussing the choices utilities face in procuring community solar resources and support services and the measures that these utilities have taken to increase the net value of their community solar programs and lower overall project costs.
Last week, the CSVP also released additional financing and procurement resources, including:
- Community Solar Program-Development Landscape: This brief provides an overview of community solar program drivers, choices, and trends as they affect utility-led community solar programs. It addresses program designers’ options to deliver the solar resources and services needed for a successful community solar program, whether the decision is made to develop in-house expertise and resources or to outsource one or more aspects of a project to third-party market providers.
- Resource Guide for Local Procurement: This guide provides links to websites and documents related to solar procurement; guidance from non-utility sectors that could be adapted for utility use; and a collection of utilities’ community solar requests for proposals (RFPs).
Based on our conversations, Navigant also recently published an article in Renewable Energy World listing tips for utilities that are considering community solar. If you will be at the Renewable Energy World International Conference in Orlando this week, check out the panel where I’ll be speaking about community solar and the CSVP. If you’re a utility looking for expertise in developing a community solar program, don’t hesitate to reach out.