DOE urges industry to hit 20 GW of community solar by end of 2025

DOE urges industry to hit 20 GW of community solar by end of 2025
(Credit: DOE)

At the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) Annual Summit, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Jeff Marootian challenged the community solar industry to commit to meeting the NCSP target of 20 GW of community solar by 2025, up from seven GW today.

With the challenge to the industry, NCSP announced two initiatives:

First, the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office selected five organizations to lead new Equitable Solar Communities of Practice, through a program meant to support the equitable distribution of the benefits of solar, pending negotiation and final acceptance. The five organizations will each receive $75,000 to identify and convene a core team of key stakeholders over 6 months to identify resource gaps, support the development and dissemination of best practices and resources, and identify pathways to scale equitable solar practices.

GO DEEPER: Renewable Properties founder and president Aaron Halimi joined Episode 33 of the Factor This! podcast to discuss the future of community solar in California which, to date, has lagged behind other markets, despite the state’s role as a leader of the energy transition. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Additionally, DOE released the Least-Cost Optimal Distribution Grid Expansion (LODGE) model, meant to identify cost-effective ways community solar can be sited on the grid, with a focus on minimizing interconnection costs and maximizing distributed resource deployment. Historically, community solar adoption can be held up by costly grid upgrades or untimely review processes. The LODGE tool is intended to complement DOE’s existing Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange program, a stakeholder partnership with the goal of enabling a faster interconnection process. Developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the model is being piloted with the Oregon Public Utility Commission

NCSP announced the 20 GW target in 2021 and estimated that 20 GW of community solar would power the equivalent of 5 million households and create $1 billion in energy savings for subscribers. In a new report, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that if all technically viable community solar is deployed, it could serve more than 53 million households and over 300,000 businesses in the U.S. that cannot access rooftop solar, representing nearly 1 terawatt of potential community solar capacity.