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 in the renewable energy market.
Shared renewable energy programs, policies, and projects are cropping up across the country at unprecedented rates, and this once-obscure model has become increasingly popular across the United States. Recent market trend reports indicate strong prospects for growth. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that shared solar could represent 32%–49% of the distributed solar market in 2020, thereby leading to growing cumulative solar PV deployment growth in by 2020 of 5.5–11.0 GW, and representing $8.2–$16.3 billion of cumulative investment.
IREC has spearheaded numerous meaningful policy and market changes that have enabled renewable energy access to more energy consumers and led to the installation of over 180 Megawatts of shared renewable energy programs nationwide to date. We have been and/or are currently participating in community solar regulatory proceedings in Maryland, Oregon, Minnesota, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New York.
In addition, IREC serves as Technical Assistance Team Member for National Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Market Pathways Effort, in partnership with the Institute for Sustainable Communities, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the Regulatory Assistance Project. In that role, we support 14 diverse teams across the country working to develop innovative solar market deployment plans. IREC also co-facilitates the Community Solar Affinity Group.