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Community Solar

Ownership and Subscription Models

Estimated Time to Complete

1 Week

Before pursuing a project, familiarize yourself with the common ownership structures and subscription models used in community solar. The material below, along with the National Renewable Energy Lab’s Guide to Community Solar (pages 6-21), provide initial overviews of the different ownership and subscription models. We recommend reviewing this material at the beginning of the process and then using it as a reference throughout your procurement effort.

There are three common ownership structures for community solar: (1) utility ownership, (2) third-party ownership, and (3) direct ownership. Taken together, decisions on ownership structure and the type of subscription programs both impact the affordability, accessibility and economics of community solar.

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The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) A Guide to Community Solar: Utility, Private, and Non-Profit Project Development provides an overview of project models (pages 6–21), state policies, and resources for community solar.

The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has a decision framework for considering ownership, subscription, and financing models.

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