Need help finding federal funding sources for your projects? Try our new and improved Funding Tool

Procurement Guidance Menu

Community Solar

Understand Ownership 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.

Learn More

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 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.