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Community Solar

Host

A city host leases municipally owned land or roof space to an independent solar developer. This involves identifying suitable sites and evaluating contract options for development on those sites. The main alternative to hosting a project yourself is to work with a developer who “brings the land,” meaning the developer identifies and purchases or leases the space for the community solar project. It is important to understand the pros and cons of these two siting options.

Having an experienced developer bring land reduces the demands on city staff, allows more developers to propose potential projects, and may lower the project’s complexity. However, it will likely also increase overall project costs.

On the other hand, hosting a project on city-owned land allows the city to have more control and can provide a source of revenue. Developers may be able to site projects on compromised lands (e.g., brownfields and landfills) or leverage other city resources such as vacant land, wastewater treatment plants, parking lots, and large rooftops.

Advantages of taking the host role

  • Can decrease total system cost
  • Can provide revenue to the city
  • Provides a city with a greater ability to influence how a project is developed

Disadvantages of taking the host role

  • Requires that city staff identify suitable locations and manage permitting issues 
  • May reduce the number of developers who propose projects
  • May increase project complexity for the city
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