23 Legislators, Agencies, Advocates, and Community Organizers from Washington, D.C. and Five States Honored for their Role in Expanding Community Solar
WASHINGTON — The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) today announced that 23 individuals and organizations have been chosen as “Community Solar Champions” for 2022. Award winners were selected for their dedication and progress in supporting and expanding community solar programs around the country. This year’s class of “Community Solar Champions” includes federal and state legislators, state regulators, and advocates for disadvantaged communities, ratepayers, and the environment.
This year’s champions hail from Washington, D.C. and five states, including:
For their work in advocating for and securing community solar priorities in the Inflation Reduction Act, introducing the “Community Solar Choice Act,” and mobilizing the federal government to expand community solar through the National Community Solar Partnership.
For their work in helping AB 2316 become law. The new law will create a community solar + storage program to overcome clean energy access barriers impacting nearly half of Californians who rent or have low incomes while strengthening the state’s power grid.
For their work passing SB 176 through the Connecticut General Assembly this year. The bill expands both the state’s commercial rooftop incentive program and the state’s community solar program. The Shared Clean Energy Facility program is now twice the size, procuring 50 megawatts (MW) every year, and also allows up to 5 MW facilities to qualify. The updated program also increases its focus on serving low income and environmental justice.
For their work in passing two bills that will improve the state’s existing community solar program through increased project size eligibility for community solar from 2 MW to 5 MW, and property tax exemptions for projects serving low income and on preferred sites (e.g., agrivoltaics, rooftop, and brownfields).
For his work creating a Grid Modernization Advisory Council as part of the major state climate legislation signed into law this year that will pave the way for the Commonwealth to meet and exceed its carbon reduction goals.
For demonstrating national leadership in community solar by setting a new 10 gigawatt (GW) distributed solar target and expanding the NY-Sun incentive program, dedicating almost $1.5 billion to the expansion of distributed energy generation and community solar to reach the new target.
CCSA’s Community Solar Champion Awards come at a time when there is growing momentum to accelerate deployment of community solar as more policymakers, host communities, subscribers, and other stakeholders see the demonstrated advantages of these projects. There are currently 22 states and the District of Columbia with policies in place that permit third-party community solar and multiple states advancing legislation to enable new programs.
Nationwide, community solar facilities generate more than 4.4 gigawatts of power, which is enough energy to power nearly 800,000 homes. Recently, New York State became the nation’s community solar leader with capacity to power 200,000 homes. Community solar is expected to generate 70% of progress towards New York’s goal to power 700,000 new homes with distributed solar by 2030, where it will be supported by a program that ensures at least 35% of the financial benefits goes to disadvantaged communities and low-to-moderate income families.
The Biden-Harris administration is calling for community solar to generate power for five million homes and save $1 billion on utility bills for low and moderate-income (LMI) households by 2025. The recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act also includes billions in new incentives for community solar plus storage projects that benefit LMI families and pay prevailing wages.