National Trade Association for Community Solar Launched

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   February 12, 2016  /   Posted in solar, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Coalition for Community Solar Access

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2016

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Ben Finzel, 202-277-6286, ben@communitysolaraccess.org

National Trade Association for Community Solar Launched
Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) to Focus on Serving Tremendous Unmet Demand for Solar

Washington, D.C. (February 9, 2016) – Leading energy companies in the solar market today announced the formation of the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA), the first-ever national trade association for community solar. The Coalition’s founding leadership includes Clean Energy Collective, Community Energy, Ecoplexus, Ethical Electric, First Solar, and Recurrent Energy.

CCSA is a business-led trade organization that works to expand access to clean, local, affordable energy nationwide through community solar. Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by individual community members, who receive credits on their electricity bills for their portion of the power produced. Community solar projects provide American homeowners, renters and businesses access to the benefits of solar energy generation unconstrained by the physical attributes of their home or business, like roof space, shading, or whether or not they own their residence or building. These programs can also expand access to solar energy to low-income households.

“Community solar is the necessary next step to bringing solar to the majority of Americans for whom solar is not yet an option,” declared CCSA Executive Director Jeff Cramer. “We’re meeting a growing need with a coordinated, collaborative approach that will help expand the American solar market benefitting both consumers and business.”

“CCSA is responding to the ever-growing consumer demand for solar. Our companies are hearing from customers who want to go solar but are limited by shading, roof space, or other factors,” said CCSA Board Chair Hannah Masterjohn of Clean Energy Collective. “And we hear every day from community leaders, utilities, clean energy advocates and policy makers across the country who are interested in expanding access to affordable clean energy in their communities. As a coalition of experienced community solar providers, CCSA will be the go-to resource for those leaders to help them establish successful programs.”

Community solar is a rapidly growing market with immense market potential. A recent NREL report outlined that market potential of up to $16 billion in investments and up to 11 gigawatts of cumulative installed capacity through 2020. Successful community solar models are operating across the country with a beneficial role for all parties in the partnerships forged between subscriber, developer, and utility.

CCSA will work in partnership with consumers, local stakeholders, and utilities to promote smart policies and innovative program models to give all Americans in every community the ability to directly benefit from clean, affordable, and reliable solar power. CCSA’s initial goals are: to open markets in key states; serve as the resource for policymakers, utilities and advocates who seek clear, practical options for establishing community solar programs; and to be the messenger to highlight the growing success of the community solar market.

Initially, CCSA will target several key states in 2016, including New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland, and broaden its reach as the organization and the community solar market grows. The coalition will work with legislators, regulators and utilities to help develop fair policy and regulatory frameworks to drive sustainable growth for community solar. Through this collaborative approach, these states can deliver not only the economic and environmental benefits of solar to their citizens, but can create good-paying, long-term jobs in their communities.

“We are already working closely with other national and local solar groups to promote broader access to community solar, and our voice will complement existing efforts,” declared Board Member Joel Thomas of Community Energy. “Solar is a rapidly growing industry employing over 200,000 Americans and serving over 750,000 customers nationwide. Our combined efforts will help expand the opportunity for all Americans to have access to and meaningfully benefit from solar energy.”

Each CCSA member company has agreed to adhere to a set of nine “Core Principles” for developing effective community solar policies and programs, including the importance of access to solar for all consumers, economic benefit to customers, customer choice, and consumer protection.

“We are partnering with other solar organizations, utilities and advocates to help promote the growth of solar broadly and intelligently,” said Board Member Eran Mahrer of First Solar. “Our message is simple, ‘If you want access to solar energy, you should have that option, regardless of where you live.’”

“Ultimately, our work is about expanding access to solar for homeowners, renters, and small and large businesses through community solar programs,” declared Board Member Sandy Roskes of Ethical Electric. “We will help create new opportunities for all consumers to choose the clean, affordable, and reliable options for solar power that are right for them.”

For more information on CCSA, visit the website atwww.communitysolaraccess.org and follow the Coalition on Twitter at @solaraccess.

Statements of Support from Solar Industry Leaders for CCSA
February 9, 2016

We have received the following statements of support from solar industry association leaders, executives of allied and other related organizations, analysts and advocates and CCSA member company executives.

“We strongly support the work the Coalition for Community Solar Access is doing to advance this critical segment of the industry. Community Solar can be made available to everyone and it can play a critical role in increasing the reliability of the grid, injecting investment into local and diverse economies and contributing to cleaner air. We look forward to working with the Coalition as it supports these worthy and important goals.”

Rhone Resch, President and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association

“The rapid growth of community solar projects across the country once again underlines the intense customer and utility interest in putting more solar on the grid in ways that benefit all stakeholders. Equally important, companies are stepping up to work together, which should further advance the spread of these projects and the innovative technology and business models being developed along side them.”

Julia Hamm, President and CEO, Solar Electric Power Association

“As a long-standing national leader on shared renewables, IREC views the formation of the Coalition for Community Solar Access as an important step to continued and enhanced market maturity. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Coalition in pursuit of our shared goal to expand consumer access to renewable energy across the country.”

Sara Baldwin Auck, Director, Regulatory Program, Interstate Renewable Energy Council

“Americans overwhelmingly want more solar powering their homes, businesses and communities, and with the right policies we can connected more of them with the clean energy they want. We look forward to working with Coalition for Community Solar Access, stakeholders and policymakers to give more consumers ways to participate in and directly benefit from our nation’s growing solar economy.”

Adam Browning, Executive Director, Vote Solar

“Community solar is a great way to provide the benefits of one form of advanced energy – solar – to everyone, even those who can’t host it on their own roofs. In half the states in the U.S., community solar is already happening. It’s great to have a group like the Coalition for Community Solar Access to promote the growth of community solar across the country.”

Malcolm Woolf, Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, Advanced Energy Economy

“Over the past couple of years, a growing number of utilities and states have rolled out ambitious programs to put community solar on the national radar. As the community solar market nears 100 MW installed, its transition from minor to major driver of U.S. solar demand will benefit from an industry-wide platform for states and utilities to share best practices in program design, and for solar companies to build relationships and partnerships that leverage their strengths to grow community solar. Looking ahead, collaborative efforts like the new trade group will play an important role in helping customers, utilities, and developers scale the learning curve of community solar’s value proposition and enable the market to grow fivefold between last year and the end of this decade.”   

Cory Honeyman, Senior Analyst, Solar Markets, GTM Research | Greentech Media

“The Coalition for Community Solar Access is a testament to the maturity of this model and the opportunity for exponential growth through cooperative efforts.”

Paul Spencer, founder and CEO, Clean Energy Collective

“Advanced solar technology optimally sited on the utility grid offers secure, clean electricity at a lower fixed price with no compromises. The only thing missing is permission for electric customers to sign up. Community Solar means solar power delivered on your utility bill. CCSA is working to bring optimally priced, advanced, solar-power technology to electric customers through the utility grid, and looks forward to working with electric customers, utilities and policy-makers to advance this high-value market.”

R. Brent Alderfer, President, Community Energy, Inc.

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