Shared renewable energy programs and policies provide more consumers access to the benefits of clean energy. An important new model for increasing participation in renewable energy, shared renewable energy, enables new opportunities for individuals and businesses unable to host an onsite renewable energy system, such as solar, to participate and benefit from renewable energy. Shared renewable energy programs, policies, and projects are cropping up across the country at unprecedented rates.


Credit: American Renewable Energy & Village of Minster, OH

IREC has spearheaded numerous meaningful policy and market changes that have enabled renewable energy access to more energy consumers and supported the unprecedented growth in the national shared renewable energy market.

  • IREC’s Model Rules for Shared Renewables assist stakeholders when developing shared renewables programs to broaden access to more consumers.
  • IREC’s State Shared Renewable Energy Program Catalog provides a detailed overview of state program design components and compares them alongside other state programs, including how each covered component is treated on a program-by-program basis.
  • IREC’s regulatory team intervenes in state regulatory rulemakings on shared renewables to advance the adoption of best practices for shared renewable energy program design. IREC has been involved (and/or is currently participating) in community solar rulemakings in California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Oregon – the majority of these state programs mirror IREC’s model rules.
  • IREC’s Shared Renewable Energy for Low-to Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provisions provides information and tools for policymakers, regulators, utilities, shared renewable energy developers, program administrators and others to support the adoption and implementation of shared renewables programs specifically designed to provide tangible benefits to LMI customers. The guidelines and accompanying model provisions are intended to function in tandem with IREC’s existing Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Program.
  • IREC’s innovative CleanCARE proposal, under consideration in California, outlines a way to enable eligible low-income participants receiving rate discounts to participate in a shared renewable energy facility located in a disadvantaged community. IREC’s CleanCARE proposal is featured in a new report by the California Energy Commission’s Report: SB 350 Low-Income Barriers Study Draft Recommendations.
  • In our role as a Technical Assistance Team Member for National Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Market Pathways Effort, IREC partners with the Institute for Sustainable Communities, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the Regulatory Assistance Project to support 14 diverse teams across the country working to develop innovative solar market efforts, including community solar.
    • As part of this effort, IREC co-facilitates the Community Solar Affinity Group and helped create the Solar Market Pathways Community Solar Toolkit.

Related Resources:

  • Community-Shared Solar: Diverse Approaches for a Common Goal
    Three case studies, compiled by IREC, offers a glimpse of three different utilities’ approaches to community solar for their customers.
  • Virtual Net Metering Policy Background & Tariff Summary Background
    This comprehensive overview of California’s multi-tenant policies also explains similar shared solar programs throughout the country. A foundational resource and policy background summary to remove barriers and expand use of virtual net metering policies in California and beyond. Co-authored with Center for Sustainable Energy and CalSEIA with support from the US DOE Solar Market Pathways Initiative.

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