Posted on Thursday December 10, 2015
When Gerald Espinosa set out to bring community solar to the towns of North Fork Valley in Colorado, he knew he had a lot to learn and a lot of work in front of him. The fact that he works for the non-profit group Solar Energy International provides many advantages, giving him access to solar resources in the way of knowledge, crews of trained installers and a driving passion for clean energy. However, community solar programs are complicated and Gerald quickly decided he needed to look for support.
That is when he came across Community Solar Hub on the internet. While planning the concept of this program, the complexities of customer bill credits, securities, and tax issues, and financing became apparent. Building a program that allows an entire community to participate in the ownership of a clean energy generating facility is so much more complicated than just planning and building a single array that services just one customer. Community Solar Hub provided him with a vast amount of information focused on all of these complexities and with case studies showing the details of successful programs.
Community Solar Hub was created in partnership with Clean Energy Collective and the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. The SunShot Initiative is a national collaborative effort to make solar energy more affordable and more abundant. Through a grant and guidance by the DOE, the Hub was created. Community Solar Hub has the purpose of helping spread the adoption of community solar programs while driving down the soft costs of program development. The Hub assists advocates, developers, and utilities by providing information about how to develop a program, a map that helps promote and influence understanding of programs and tools that help streamline the complexities of program management.
The community solar project being organized by Gerald and Solar Energy International has a great deal of potential due to the support of residents and businesses in the community. Because not all rooftops are suitable for solar due to shading, roof condition or building ownership (i.e., if the occupant is a renter or in multi-family housing), community solar has the ability to bring clean energy to more people within every community across the country. That is why community solar is the fastest growing segment in the solar industry.
The project is still in the planning stages, however, the folks behind the Hub are looking into possible partnerships and other contacts that will provide the financing needed for project development and to acquire the software for production monitoring and customer bill credits. Gerald contacted the Hub to learn more about financing opportunities and to learn what he and the partnering utility needed to know about customer bill credits.Community Solar Hub provided the information and support that was needed to keep this project moving forward. With perseverance, the towns of North Fork Valley, Colorado will have the benefits of solar energy provided by a community solar program constructed through the know-how and tenacity of Gerald and the good people at Solar Energy International.
Join the campaign to bring community solar to every neighborhood in the nation. Gain access to the tools that will make your projects a success. Share the details of your developments for others to see and repeat your achievements. Contribute to your community by providing the choice of clean and affordable electricity to everyone.