The cascading cost of solar photovoltaic technologies over the past five years presents a ripe opportunity to change the way people think about solar energy, and the nascent community solar model offers the vehicle for such change. Community solar offers any electricity ratepayer the opportunity to purchase a small portion—as little as one panel—of an offsite, local solar array in exchange for reductions in the ratepayer’s utility bill for the entire life of the solar system. By removing traditional siting and financial barriers to solar ownership, community solar drastically expands access to solar energy to persons of all socioeconomic levels while also conferring a host of ancillary benefits.
Although traditional financial barriers to solar ownership have been
effectively eroded, inflexible securities regulations continue to pose a
formidable threat to the fledgling community solar model by imposing
onerous and expensive registration and information disclosure
requirements—essentially creating a minefield of potential liability for
community solar developers. Due to the novelty of the community solar
model, however, courts have yet to consider whether this arrangement
constitutes a “security” within the meaning of the Securities Act of
1933. Nonetheless, an analysis of the case law to date quite strongly
suggests that community solar interests are, in fact, securities. On the
other hand, this Comment posits that the policy underlying securities
regulations points in both directions, and therefore the classification
of community solar interests as securities is not as airtight as some
judges might think.
Read more: http://www.uclalawreview.org/?p=5206