Over the past few years, expanding consumer access to clean energy has emerged as a central theme across the clean energy policy landscape, and shared renewable energy (particularly shared or ‘community’ solar) continues to gain traction among utilities, policymakers, advocates, and industry as a promising model to reach more consumers and deliver economic and environmental benefits of clean energy.
Adding to this trend, a growing number of states with existing or planned programs are honing in on strategies to leverage the shared renewable energy model as a means to expand clean energy access to low- to moderate-income (LMI) households.
To date, 14 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted community solar legislation, with several more considering similar policies, and numerous utilities in more than half of states have voluntarily created shared solar programs. In addition, as local governments continue their leadership on energy and climate matters in the coming years, we anticipate an increased interest in advancing corollary policies to expand consumer access and meet resiliency goals in urban areas (such as on-site multifamily solar, enabled through virtual net metering or aggregate net metering policies).
IREC’s Shared Renewables Work
IREC has been at the helm of the U.S. shared renewable energy growth since the launch of the first few programs, helping to lay the foundation for best practice program and policy design, while also supporting the extensive growth underway across markets. Through state-level regulatory engagement, IREC supports states adopt and implement best practice programs designed to benefit consumers.
In addition, IREC works on shared renewable energy programs in the context of other interrelated regulatory issues, such as interconnection, virtual net metering, solar valuation, energy storage, and grid modernization, thus helping states navigate the important intersections of different distributed energy policies and guide more holistic regulatory decision-making. Lastly, IREC’s tools and resources on shared renewables provide key information to guide states and diverse stakeholders as they work to understand and develop successful shared renewable energy policies and programs.
Recent State Engagement
Whether serving as an active intervenor in a regulatory proceeding or by providing technical assistance and support to stakeholders, IREC engages on shared renewable energy matters in a number of states. Most recently, IREC has been involved in California, Minnesota, New York, and Oregon.