Monday, November 30, 2015

Webinar 12/4: Strategies for Low and Moderate Income (LMI) Inclusion in New York State

     Join us for an hour-long webinar on Dec 04, 2015 at 10:00 AM EST.
Register now!
Presenter: Joy Hughes, Founder, Solar Gardens Institute

How can we make access to clean renewable energy a human right? Until recently, the majority of residential solar energy systems have been installed for well-off homeowners with sunny roofs. A solar garden is like a community garden - instead of having a patch of vegetables, a customer benefits from a number of panels in a shared array, with power produced credited on the electric bill.

New York’s new Community Shared Renewables program includes important provisions to incentivize the participation of LMI customers. Until April 30, 2016, each array installed under the program in certain areas must provide at least 20% of its capacity to LMI customers. This workshop will explore business models for solar gardens that are advantageous to LMI customers, allowing for energy savings and the ability to own their own panels.

Specific topics:
- Review of community solar models for LMI customers
- Community outreach and customer acquisition in LMI communities
- The relative benefits of solar ownership versus solar power purchases for LMI customers
- The National Community Solar Partnership (White House / Department of Energy)
- Recent changes in IRS policy
- Upcoming changes to federal tax credits
- Securities Law considerations
- Common challenges and hurdles
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Offered by:
 Here Comes Solar NYC
Group-Based Purchasing. When homeowners pursue solar at the same time as a group, they can achieve more competitive pricing than if they went it alone.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Large Solar Projects Capped Out in Massachusetts | EcoRI News

Massachusetts heads into the holiday season with some unfinished environmental business. Despite some late action with competing bills, the Legislature failed to raise the cap on a popular solar program before it wrapped up the 2015 session.

The state’s solar ceiling has already been reached in 171 communities serviced by National Grid, primarily in eastern Massachusetts. The limit doesn’t affect small residential solar projects. But the cap does prevent larger, often shared or community solar arrays, from powering their homes with remote solar arrays that benefit renters, low-income communities and homes whose roofs aren’t suitable for solar panels.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Minnesota: Xcel Energy Reports 24 Community Solar Garden Projects are Beginning Construction | Stoel Rives LLP - JDSupra

Xcel Energy filed its monthly report for the Community Solar Garden program with the Public Utilities Commission last week, revealing that 24 projects are moving to the beginning stages of construction.

Xcel also reports that, "after receiving over 600 applications in the surge to submit co-located projects, the pace has slowed considerably." There are currently 615 applications in the interconnection queue and 925 applications being reviewed for completeness, but the utility believes that "many of these projects in the application stage are 'placeholders' that may not be actively pursued by developers." Xcel adds that "63% of pending applications are in the application stage, 35% are either being studied or waiting for payment, and 2% have moved into construction."

Read more:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Giving Low-Income Families Access to Clean Energy and Efficiency | Rocky Mountain Institute

In June, RMI—along with its partner organizations—launched eLab Leap in New York to identify the unmet needs and create solutions that empower and improve the lives of low-income communities and households in a clean energy future.
Forty diverse groups joined eLab Leap's first meeting including low-income and consumer advocates, environmental groups, government entities, housing organizations, utilities, regulators, foundations, and financiers.
The meeting attendees created four initiatives to collaboratively implement and test solutions for low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities in New York. These initiatives are:
  • REVitalize: Fund a community-generated, clean energy plan that leverages New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding to bring economic and environmental justice to all members of the community.
  • Public Participation Initiative: Drive more effective engagement, participation, and communication between government agencies and stakeholders working on low-income issues in New York.
  • Community Energy Project: Conduct and implement holistic and complete energy efficiency, weatherization, and DER audits, retrofits and upgrades all at once, and at scale in a particular neighborhood, and develop a sustainable funding model.
  • Guide to Community-Owned, Local LMI Microgrids: Develop a guide to help communities interested in pursuing community-owned, local renewable energy infrastructure to understand the decisions they need to make and the actions they need to take to achieve their goals.

Community solar makes participation affordable in Delaware | Public Power Daily

Each participant pays a low entry fee — $50 — to join a community solar project. The money is used to install energy efficiency measures that will benefit the entire community, such as LED street lighting. The money saved through the energy efficiency benefits everyone in the community, even if they don’t participate in the community solar project.

DEMEC set up the program so that it can accept financial donations from those who want to give community solar an extra boost.

The community solar project also offers its output below retail market rates. The program is able to keep costs down because the community solar projects avoid several costs, such as the utilities' need to buy solar renewable energy certificates and provide net metering credits.

As a result, the program offers blocks of solar to community participants at one cent less than they would otherwise pay for electricity.


Arkansas’ First Community Solar Center Breaks Ground Nov. 20 | AMP

This project is very interesting as it takes advantage of recent IRS policy allowing each customer to claim a 30% federal tax credit. This eliminates the transaction costs associated with tax equity financing. Unfortunately, this model will only be available until the end of 2016. 

The project is also unusual in that it uses meter aggregation rather than virtual net metering. Each customer has a separately metered physical array on site. 

– Joy


Members of three local organizations dedicated to expanding access to solar power will break ground on the state’s first community solar center on Friday, Nov. 20.

The 1 acre Bearskin Solar Center in Scott is also the first of many planned community solar centers in Arkansas, said Bill Ball, CEO of Stellar Sun, an Arkansas renewable energy services company and one of the project’s organizers. He said two others are currently in the works, but could not yet provide details.


Initial setup fees for consumers buying into the Bearskin center can be $3.25 to $3.65 per watt for residential properties, he explained. A 30 percent Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit is typically available for homeowners with a solar array located on their properties, but Ball said the Internal Revenue Service has issued specific rulings allowing customers that have purchased community solar arrays to also claim the credit. He said this is explained to customers seeking to buy into the Bearskin project.

NYSERDA Program Increases Solar Access for Low- to Moderate-Income Residents | 2015-11-19 | ACHRNEWS

Part of the NY-Sun initiative, Affordable Solar is authorized to spend $13 million to achieve greater participation by low- to moderate-income customers in solar electric programs. The double incentives for low- to moderate-income homeowners will use approximately half of that funding. The other half will be used in the future to support shared solar projects for renters and others who do not have rooftops or who have rooftops that are unsuitable for solar.

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