LMI Community Solar Resource Database

Matt Ohloff | Clean Energy States Alliance

This database was developed as a resource hub for state agencies that are working to develop and implement community solar programs for low- and moderate-income (LMI) households. The database covers the most common and critical obstacles that states face in implementing LMI community solar programs. The resources listed within this database consist of best practices, solutions, funding opportunities, tools, and more. Resources are organized based on the obstacle they relate to.

This resource was produced by the Clean Energy States Alliance based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Solar Energy Technologies Office. It was produced as part of the National Community Solar Partnership.

The obstacles and resources compiled in this database were informed by interviews with states in the National Community Solar Partnership States Collaborative.

New resources will periodically be added to this database. If you know of a resource that exists and should be added, please email mohloff@cleanegroup.org with that resource. And if you have a resource need related to LMI community solar, please email mohloff@cleanegroup.org with that request.

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Date: July 14, 2023
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Resource Name Publishing Organization Resource Type Related Obstacles Obstacle Categories
wdt_ID Resource Name Publishing Organization Resource Type Related Obstacles Obstacle Categories
1 A financial benefit-cost analysis of different community solar approaches in the Northeastern US ScienceDirect Educational Resource Difficulty communicating and valuing the benefits of community solar to legislature. Need "non-partisan" talking points on community solar. Policy, Regulatory
2 Achieving Cooperative Community Equitable Solar Sources (ACCESS) NRECA Educational Resource

Difficulty communicating and valuing the benefits of community solar to legislature. Need "non-partisan" talking points on community solar.

Community ownership models outside of a PPA.

Need additional models of community ownership and understanding of the different benefits -- is ownership most important vs community benefits, etc.

Policy, Regulatory, Finance, Community Ownership, Technical
3 All in the Community: Using Community Solar Gardens to Bring the Benefits of Renewable Energy to Low-Income Communiti The Georgetown Environmental Law Review Educational Resource Designing program to bring market-rate subscribers bill savings so there aren’t cost shifting issues between LMI subscribers and market-rate subscribers. Policy, Program Design
4 Are You Philanthropy-Ready? How to Work with Foundations on Mission-Aligned Community Solar Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Educational Resource Helping CBOs and small developers access gap funding and philanthropic dollars to develop community solar. Finance, Project Financing
5 Best Practices for Consumer Protection & Subcontractor Management New Mexico Community Solar Program Educational Resource Consumer protections, especially with multiple 3rd party developers operating in a state. //Best practices for engaging small businesses and contractors. Implementation; Program Management; Marketing, Outreach and Education
6 Climate Program Portal Atlas Public Policy Tool

Understanding requirements, qualifications, and deadlines for all funding opportunities available to state energy agencies.

Understanding requirements, qualifications, and deadlines for all funding opportunities available to low-income serving institutions (nonprofits, affordable housing).

Federal Incentives, Inflation Reduction Act
7 Community Outreach and Solar Equity: A Guide for States on Collaborating with Community-Based Organizations CESA Educational Resource

Undue burden on LMI communities and CBOs who wish to participate in rulemaking process.

Involving LMI communities in program design.

Identifying + partnering with CBOs to do customer engagement and community education.

Policy, Regulatory, Program Design, Implementation, Customer Acquisition
8 Community Power Accelerator Department of Energy Tool

Preparing low-income serving institutions to take advantage of tax credits, other incentives for developing community solar projects.

Helping CBOs and small developers access gap funding and philanthropic dollars to develop community solar.

Federal Incentives, Inflation Reduction Act, Finance, Project Financing
9 Community Purchase Programs Low-Income Solar Policy Guide Educational Resource Best practices for implementing a low-income community solar program for co-ops and municipal utilities. Implementation, Utilities
10 Community Solar and HUD Subsidized Housing: An Overview of Current Policies, Programs and Practices and the Impact to Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future Educational Resource

Maintaining energy assistance benefits for LMI subscribers if they receive credits for community solar.

Creating prioritization strategies to ensure equitable access.

Customer Acquisition, Implementation, Subscriber Benefits
11 Community Solar Consolidated Billing NASEO Educational Resource Consolidated billing considerations - states without consolidated billing managing bill credits properly. Implementation, Subscriber Benefits
12 Community Solar for the Southeast Project NC Clean Energy Technology Center Educational Resource

Difficulty communicating and valuing the benefits of community solar to legislature. Need "non-partisan" talking points on community solar.

Legislation to regulate community solar limits enforcement.

Difficult to communicate benefits of net metering or virtual net metering to regulators.

Policy, Regulatory
13 Community Solar Resource Library Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) Educational Resource Best practices for incorporating DERs into state- and city-planning. Technical, Planning
14 Community-Owned Community Solar: Opportunities and Challenges Environmental Law and Policy Center Educational Resource Community ownership models outside of a PPA. Finance, Community Ownership
15 Design and Implementation of Community Solar Programs for Low- and Moderate-Income Custom CESA Educational Resource

Best practices broadly for equitable community solar programs at the regulatory level (i.e., including community ownership, workforce).

Involving LMI communities in program design.

Policy, Regulatory, Program Design
16 Energize Your Impact: How Foundations Can Accelerate Solar for LMI-Serving Community Institutions CESA Educational Resource Helping CBOs and small developers access gap funding and philanthropic dollars to develop community solar. Finance, Project Financing
17 Equitable Access to Community Solar: Program Design and Subscription Considerations NREL Educational Resource Best practices for structuring LMI carveouts and costs and benefits for LMI carveouts. Policy, Regulatory
18 Expanding Access to Community Solar for Affordable Housing Residents: Three Tips for Resident Engagement Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future Educational Resource

Identifying + partnering with CBOs to do customer engagement and community education.

Connecting LMI subscribers with available projects.

Implementation, Customer Acquisition
19 Expanding Solar Availability to the Low-Income Community: Learnings from the Denver Housing Authority Solar Energies Industry Association (SEIA) Educational Resource Involving LMI communities in program design. Policy, Program Design
20 Focusing the Sun: State Considerations for Designing Community Solar Policy NREL Educational Resource Best practices for structuring LMI carveouts and costs and benefits for LMI carveouts. Policy, Regulatory
21 How Community Solar Can Benefit Low- and Moderate-Income Customers World Resources Institute (WRI) Educational Resource Creating prioritization strategies to ensure equitable access. Implementation, Customer Acquisition
22 How Local Governments Can Advance Community Solar for Low- and Moderate-Income Households World Resources Institute (WRI) Educational Resource Step-by-step instructions for designing a community solar program for cooperative and municipal utilities. Policy, Program Design
23 i2X Technical Assistance Department of Energy Funding Opportunity Regulations regarding interconnection, permitting and planning limit hosting capacity for DERs. Policy, Regulatory
24 Innovative Partnerships Bring Community Solar to Low-income Households in the US World Resources Institute (WRI) Educational Resource

Creating LMI community solar projects that would be successful without state incentives.

Community ownership models outside of a PPA.

Finance, Project Financing, Community Ownership
25 Just Energy: Reducing Pollution, Creating Jobs Toolkit NAACP Educational Resource Building capacity among CBOs, nonprofits for community ownership Technical, Community Ownership
26 Justice40 Accelerator Justice40 Accelerator Funding Opportunity Preparing low-income serving institutions to take advantage of tax credits, other incentives for developing community solar projects. Federal Incentives, Inflation Reduction Act
27 Keys Elements to Consider for a Low- and Moderate- Income Community Solar Project NASEO Educational Resource Step-by-step instructions for designing a community solar program for cooperative and municipal utilities. Policy, Program Design
28 https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/local-government-guide-solar-deployment Department of Energy Educational Resource Step-by-step instructions for designing a community solar program for cooperative and municipal utilities. Policy, Program Design
29 Low- and Moderate-Income Community Solar Policies NREL Educational Resource

Educating and building trust with LMI customers on benefits of community solar.

Difficulty communicating and valuing the benefits of community solar to legislature. Need "non-partisan" talking points on community solar.

Best practices for structuring LMI carveouts and costs and benefits for LMI carveouts.

Implementation; Marketing, Outreach, and Education; Policy; Regulatory
30 Low-Income Clean Energy Connector Department of Energy Tool Connecting LMI subscribers with available projects. Implementation, Customer Acquisition
31 Low-Income Community Solar: Utility Return Considerations for Electric Cooperatives NREL Educational Resource Best practices for implementing a low-income community solar program for co-ops and municipal utilities. Implementation, Utilities
32 Low-Income Solar Policy Guide Low-Income Solar Policy Guide Educational Resource

Best practices broadly for equitable community solar programs at the regulatory level (i.e., including community ownership, workforce).

Need additional models of community ownership and understanding of the different benefits -- is ownership most important vs community benefits, etc.

Policy, Regulatory, Technical, Community Ownership
33 Low-Income Solar Policy Guidelines and Sample Bill Language Low-Income Solar Policy Guide Educational Resource Best practices broadly for equitable community solar programs at the regulatory level (i.e., including community ownership, workforce). Policy, Regulatory
34 Modeling the Cost of LMI Community Solar Participation: Preliminary Results NREL Educational Resource

Best practices for structuring LMI carveouts and costs and benefits for LMI carveouts.

Designing program to bring market-rate subscribers bill savings so there aren’t cost shifting issues between LMI subscribers and market-rate subscribers.

Policy, Regulatory, Program Design
35 National Community Solar Partnership Technical Assistance Engagement Summaries Department of Energy Educational Resource

Income verification methods need to be accurate without creating undue burden on subscribers.

Community ownership models outside of a PPA.

Implementation, Subscriber Benefits, Finance, Community Ownership
36 On-Bill Recovery/On-Bill Financing Low-Income Solar Policy Guide Educational Resource

Creating LMI community solar projects that would be successful without state incentives.

Consolidated billing considerations - states without consolidated billing managing bill credits properly.

Finance, Project Financing, Implementation, Subscriber Benefits
37 Putting Research to Action: Integrating Collaborative Governance and Community-Engaged Research for Community Solar MDPI Educational Resource

Involving LMI communities in program design.

Identifying + partnering with CBOs to do customer engagement and community education.

Policy, Program Design, Implementation, Consumer Acquisition
38 Recommendations on Automatic Qualification and Community Engagement for State Policy-Enabled Low- and Moderate-Income Community Solar Programs Vote Solar Educational Resource Income verification methods need to be accurate without creating undue burden on subscribers. Implementation, Subscriber Benefits
39 Report: Renewable Energy Integration & Optimization NREL Tool Step-by-step instructions for designing a community solar program for cooperative and municipal utilities. Policy, Program Design
40 Research Report: Analysis of Solar Project Finance Research Groundswell Educational Resource Creating LMI community solar projects that would be successful without state incentives. Finance, Project Financing
41 Research Report: Customer Experience for Low- and Moderate-Income Community Solar Subscribers Groundswell Educational Resource Best practices for program evaluation (i.e., ensure bill savings achieved and consumer protections met). Implementation, Program Management
42 Research Report: The Growth of U.S. Community Solar Serving Low- and Moderate-Income Households Groundswell Educational Resource Creating LMI community solar projects that would be successful without state incentives. Finance, Project Financing
43 Shared Renewable Energy for Low- and Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provis Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) Educational Resource Best practices broadly for equitable community solar programs at the regulatory level (i.e., including community ownership, workforce). Policy, Regulatory
44 State Approaches to Intervenor Compensation National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Educational Resource Undue burden on LMI communities and CBOs who wish to participate in rulemaking process. Policy, Regulatory
45 States’ Strategies for Working with Low-Income Community Groups on Solar CESA Educational Resource Identifying + partnering with CBOs to do customer engagement and community education. Implementation, Customer Acquisition
46 Summary of State Approaches to Low-income Community Solar, by Program, Carveout, Incentive Low-Income Solar Policy Guide Tool Best practices for structuring LMI carveouts and costs and benefits for LMI carveouts. Policy, Regulatory
47 System Advisor Model (SAM) NREL Tool

Designing program to bring market-rate subscribers bill savings so there aren’t cost shifting issues between LMI subscribers and market-rate subscribers.

Step-by-step instructions for designing a community solar program for cooperative and municipal utilities.

Policy, Program Design
48 Technical Assistance Fund CEG Funding Opportunity Preparing low-income serving institutions to take advantage of tax credits, other incentives for developing community solar projects. Federal Incentives, Inflation Reduction Act
49 The Municipal Utility Community Solar Workbook American Public Power Association Educational Resource

Step-by-step instructions for designing a community solar program for cooperative and municipal utilities.

Best practices for implementing a low-income community solar program for co-ops and municipal utilities.

Policy, Program Design, Implementation, Utilities
50 The People's Justice40+ Community Benefit Playbook Emerald Cities Collaborative Educational Resource

Understanding requirements, qualifications, and deadlines for all funding opportunities available to low-income serving institutions (nonprofits, affordable housing).

Understanding requirements, qualifications, and deadlines for all funding opportunities available to state energy agencies (VA).

How to guarantee community benefits to the location of a project.

Federal Incentives, Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Technical, Siting and Interconnection
51 Unlocking Solar for Low- and Moderate-Income Residents: A Matrix of Financing Options by Resident, Provider, and Housing Type NREL Tool Creating LMI community solar projects that would be successful without state incentives. Finance, Project Financing
52 Up to the Challenge: Communities Deploy Solar in Underserved Markets NREL Educational Resource Best practices broadly for equitable community solar programs at the regulatory level (i.e., including community ownership, workforce). Policy, Regulatory
53 What Nonprofits Need to Know about the Investment Tax Credit CEG Educational Resource Preparing low-income serving institutions to take advantage of tax credits, other incentives for developing community solar projects. Federal Incentives, Inflation Redution Act