Elevate Energy Blog

Elevate Energy to Provide Technical Assistance in National Community Solar Challenge

We’re working to ensure that everyone has access to the benefits of a clean energy economy, and one way we’re doing that is through community solar. However, it’s a relatively new concept that can be difficult to implement, especially in low- and moderate-income communities, due to:

  • Technical Issues: some rooftops are unsuitable for solar panels (shaded/physical obstructions, too small, etc.);
  • Ownership: renters and condo owners typically do not own their roof; and
  • Cost: despite the drop in the installed cost of solar, some households simply cannot afford the upfront cost.

community solar challenge
We’re proud to be part of a new opportunity to push community solar further. The US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative recently kicked off the Solar in Your Community Challenge, a $5 million prize competition that aims to expand access to solar energy to everyone, especially underserved populations like low- and moderate-income households, state, local, and tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations. In order to make solar more accessible and inclusive, the challenge tasks 50 teams to develop replicable plans that hopefully will result in actual projects. The competition aims to spur the development of new, innovative financial and business models that serve non-rooftop solar users such as community solar.

The teams of project implementers can take advantage of technical assistance from us, including:

  • Help building a business model by using our Community Solar Business Case Tool;
  • Guidance on how to identify key stakeholders, engage communities, and develop a marketing plan; and
  • Assistance in navigating the utility interconnection process.

We’ve been building our expertise on solar business models and are excited that we can now support the Challenge teams. In addition to the Challenge, we’re also working with Cook County on the Cook County Solar Market Pathways project. We are conducting in-depth assessments of pilot sites that were recently announced  to examine their suitability for community solar and then will develop appropriate ownership, financing, and management models for each eligible site.

Want to work with us or learn more? Contact Jan Gudell at .