Xcel Energy tabs SunShare to build six new community solar gardens in Colorado

SunShare community solar

SunShare was selected in a competitive bidding process by Xcel Energy to develop six new community solar gardens totaling 12 MWdc and will be able to serve more than 2,500 residential households in the Denver metro area as well as additional municipal, governmental, and educational entities.

“We’re very proud that SunShare will be able to continue our mission of bringing community solar to residential customers. We look forward to building our first 100 percent residential community solar gardens in Colorado and appreciate Xcel Energy’s commitment to this program,” said David Amster-Olszewski, SunShare’s founder and CEO. “The entire concept of community solar was created to enable people who can’t install solar panels on their rooftops to have access to the benefits of solar power. Many developers across the country focus on obtaining commercial subscribers, but SunShare’s mission has always been to give more individual consumers powerful options for contributing to a healthier environment.”

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The six community solar gardens will service approximately 2,600 subscribers upon completion with construction expected to start in 2019. SunShare expects the individual solar gardens to be located in Jefferson County, Adams County, and Arapahoe County. SunShare has now completed more than 27 MW of community solar gardens in Colorado.

“We are pleased to be able to continue to bring our customers programs that meet their energy needs in a zero-carbon manner,” said Jerome Davis, regional vice president, Xcel Energy—Colorado. “The continued participation in these voluntary programs such as Renewable*Connect, Solar*Rewards, and Solar*Rewards Community shows Coloradans preference for reliable, clean, and low-cost energy that we are proud to deliver.”

SunShare has helped build the community solar programs in Colorado and Minnesota, the nation’s first and largest, both of which are part of Xcel Energy’s service area. Community solar gardens enable homeowners, renters, government organizations, and small businesses that may not otherwise have the ability to install solar panels on their home or building to participate in and benefit from renewable energy.

— Solar Builder magazine

CleanChoice Energy launches community solar in Massachusetts

CleanChoice Energy

CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company that provides wind and solar energy products to customers across the country, launched CleanChoice Energy Community Solar in Massachusetts with 3.489 MW of proposed Community Solar capacity. The launch opens hundreds of new subscriber allocations for Bay State residents in the National Grid service area.

CleanChoice Energy Community Solar customers have the opportunity to save up to 10% on their utility bills with no upfront costs while supporting local solar projects. Customers outside of the National Grid service area that want to make the switch to clean energy can sign-up for a Community Solar waiting list or choose one of the company’s other clean energy options.

“We know that Massachusetts residents want to do their part on climate and the environment. Community solar allows people to make an impact by supporting local solar projects and helping reduce carbon emissions,” said Tom Matzzie, CEO of CleanChoice Energy. “CleanChoice Energy Community Solar makes it easy. Bay State residents can sign-up online in just a few minutes and save money on their utility bills.”

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Community Solar offers landowners, farmers, and others the opportunity to receive additional revenue to install solar panels, while opening the benefits of solar to the hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents and businesses that either do not own their own home or do not have a roof that works for solar. The CleanChoice Energy Community Solar platform connects people to local Community Solar projects, allowing residents and businesses to sign-up to support local solar in minutes and to see up to 10% savings on their utility bills with no upfront investment, setup fees or installation.

Earlier this year, CleanChoice Energy released a poll that found more than 83% of Massachusetts residents wanted the freedom to choose clean energy.

CleanChoice Energy has made social responsibility a core value and has provided over $1.9 million in support to more than 50 nonprofit environmental and social impact organizations.

— Solar Builder magazine

DC Sustainable Energy Utility issues two huge ‘Solar for All’ requests for proposal

solar RFP

On Tuesday, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) issued two requests for proposal (RFPs) worth up to $9.6 million seeking contractors and developers for one of the largest income-qualified solar energy efforts in the country.

The District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE)’s “Solar for All” program, which kicked off in 2016, is designed to decrease energy costs for thousands of low-income DC families. The DCSEU will implement a new round of “Solar for All” initiatives starting in 2019 with $32 million in total funding available over three years.

Solar contractors and developers can find more information about the RFPs on the Contracting Opportunities page of the DCSEU’s website. The deadline to submit questions about the RFPs is December 17, 2018 and the deadline to respond to the RFPs is January 9, 2019. Selected bidders are expected to be awarded in early 2019.

RFP and program details

The DCSEU is pursuing developers to build community renewable energy facilities (CREFs) as well as contractors to install solar systems on approximately 100 income-qualified DC households annually.

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The DCSEU has previously partnered with DOEE to facilitate the instillation of hundreds of solar panels on income-qualified homes in the District—over 500 systems were installed between 2012 and 2016 alone.

“As we work together to realize Mayor Bowser’s goal to expand access to locally generated solar energy for residents in all eight Wards, we are excited to welcome DCSEU as a new partner in this effort,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells.

The DCSEU’s “Solar for All” work is expected to benefit up to 6,800 income-qualified DC households in total.

“While paying energy bills can be a burden for anyone, it can especially impact low-income families,” said Ted Trabue, Managing Director of the DCSEU. “Through the ‘Solar for All’ initiative, thousands of DC households will be able to cut their energy bills through the low cost and efficiency of solar energy.”

“Solar for All” supports the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Amendment Act of 2016, which aims to provide the benefits of solar energy to 100,000 low-income households and to reduce their energy bills by 50 percent by 2032. The program also supports the District’s Clean Energy DC climate and energy plan which serves as a roadmap to reduce DC greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2023.

— Solar Builder magazine

New York sets in motion first nine community solar projects in its Solar For All program

new york renewable energy

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced that nine community solar projects throughout New York have been awarded contracts through the “Solar For All” program. This is the first in a series of awards under the program to provide access to no-cost community solar to 10,000 low-income New Yorkers.

How it works

As part of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun program, Solar For All offers eligible low-income households the opportunity to subscribe to a community solar project in their area without any upfront costs or participation fees. By enabling consumers to subscribe to a local community solar project, these projects increase access to solar for homeowners and renters who may not have ideal conditions to install solar panels at their location.

Energy is still delivered through their regular electric provider while the power produced from the community solar array is fed directly back to the electric grid. As a result, the grid is supplied with clean, renewable energy while subscribers get credit on their electric bills.

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Details on the first projects

Solar for All projects selected in the first round will serve approximately 7,000 low income homeowners and renters who receive electric service from NYSEG, National Grid, Central Hudson, and Orange & Rockland. In addition to savings on participant electric bills, some of the selected projects have also committed to additional community benefits, including donations to local organizations serving families in need, educational programs for local schools, and committing additional project capacity to subscriptions for low-to-moderate income households.

The Solar for All contracts were awarded to groups located in these towns and regions:

• Town of Crawford (Mid-Hudson): Clearway Energy Group: Crans Mill is a 2.8 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in Orange and Rockland’s utility territory.

• Town of Grand Island (Western New York): BlueRock Energy Solar, Inc.: BlueRock Grand Island is a 2.1 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in National Grid’s utility territory in western New York.

• Town of Johnstown (Mohawk Valley): Common Energy: Johnstown A and B are two community solar projects – 2.8 megawatts and 2.0 megawatts – adjacent to each other, and will provide 1 megawatt each for no-cost solar subscriptions in National Grid’s Capital Region utility territory.

• Town of Mooers (North Country): Delaware River Solar: Boas #4 is a 2.7 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in NYSEG’s northern New York region as well as the rest of NYSEG’s utility territory.

• Town of Poughkeepsie (Mid-Hudson): Clearway Energy Group: Underhill is a 3.0 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in Central Hudson’s utility territory.

• Town of Rochester (Mid-Hudson): Nexamp: Nexamp Rochester is a 5.6 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in Central Hudson’s utility territory.

• Town of Seneca (Finger Lakes): Nexamp: Nexamp Seneca is a 2.6 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in NYSEG’s Central New York region as well as the rest of NYSEG’s utility territory.

• Town of Thompson (Mid-Hudson): Delaware River Solar: Sackett Lake is a 2.8 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in NYSEG’s utility territory in the Mohawk Valley region.

Funding for this program is provided by the state’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund (CEF), a core component of New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to achieve a clean, resilient, and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. NYSERDA will launch a second round of the program in 2019, which will expand the number of households and areas served by the program.

— Solar Builder magazine

Washington D.C. residents get a path to solar energy via CleanChoice Energy community solar portfolio

CleanChoice Energy

CleanChoice Energy, a renewable energy company that provides wind and solar energy products to customers across the country, and New Columbia Solar, one of Washington D.C.’s largest solar energy companies, have launched a partnership to bring community solar to residents of the District of Columbia. CleanChoice Energy Community Solar will make 1.825 MW of proposed community solar capacity available, with the overall portfolio being the largest opening of community solar ever in Washington D.C.

“Bringing Community Solar to the District is hugely important. For too long most Washington D.C. residents had no real way to go solar. Community Solar changes that. It means that anyone–including people that live in apartments, or rent, or can’t install their own solar for any reason can still choose solar,” said Tom Matzzie, CEO of CleanChoice Energy. “And it’s easy. People can sign-up online in just a few minutes and save money on their utility bills.”

The CleanChoice Energy Community Solar platform connects people to local Community Solar projects developed by New Columbia Solar, allowing residents and businesses to sign-up to support local solar in minutes and can see up to a 5% savings on their utility bills with no upfront investment, setup fees or installation.

“Today’s launch of nearly 2 megawatts of community solar by CleanChoice Energy and New Columbia Solar shows Mayor Bowser’s dedication to providing the benefits of locally generated solar energy to 100,000 low-income residents,” said Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) Director Tommy Wells. “Community solar opens up the benefits of solar to all residents–including lower energy bills and cleaner air—while creating jobs and renewable energy investment in all eight wards of the District.”

— Solar Builder magazine