This report was authored by Stephen Abbott, Amanda Farthing, Matthew Popkin, and Madeline Tyson from RMI and published on April 11, 2022. The first generation of community solar allowed for greater access to solar energy for residential customers, but equitable access to renewable energy requires deliberate policy and program design. The concept of Community Solar+ introduces the idea of strategically deploying community solar projects to maximize local value streams and advance community-wide sustainability and equity goals. Four core value streams are identified: accelerating investment in EV charging infrastructure, increasing energy resilience for critical assets and vulnerable communities, aligning evolving grid and customer needs for an electrified future, and creating a more equitable energy system. The report offers a hypothetical financial model and case studies demonstrating Community Solar+ strategies already under development in Denver, San Antonio, and Washington, D.C. The report concludes with recommendations for local governments, states, utilities, and other key stakeholders seeking to embrace this emerging practice.
Keywords: Architecture/Engineering, Climate Change, Communications, Construction/New Buildings, Energy Efficiency/Management, Post-COVID-19, Property Management, Renewable Energy, Training, Solar