The National Community Solar Partnership tracks progress towards meeting its goal of expanding access to affordable community solar to every American household by 2025. To do this we track progress in a variety of ways; some of which are presented here. First, we track access to community solar projects, looking at where they are installed and how much capacity exists in each state. Second, we track how affordable a community solar subscription is for a residential subscriber. Third, we track progress that states are making in including low-income access in their community solar programs.
As of September 2020, community solar projects are located in 39 states, plus Washington, D.C. About 74% of the total market is concentrated in the top four states: Minnesota (663 MW-AC), Florida (593 MW-AC), Massachusetts (436 MW-AC), and New York (243 MW-AC).
We examine the affordability of community solar by examining the net present value (NPV) of a residential subscription. The net present value calculation examines the difference between the credits and payments that subscribers make over time; a positive NPV means that subscribers are saving money over the life of their subscription, compared to not subscribing. The median project-level NPV is about +$0.37/W as of May 2020 (sensitivity range: +$0.20/W to +$0.46/W). About 83% (sensitivity range: 74 - 86%) of projects yield a positive NPV, meaning that most projects result in positive net benefits to the customers over the course of the subscription. Find more details on methodology here.
20 states and Washington, D.C. have enabled or required community solar. Of that group, 16 states and Washington, D.C., have created provisions to address low-income participation in community solar. Incentives provide added funding for projects that subscribe low-income customers; carve-outs require a certain percentage of a community solar project or program to be subscribed by low-income subscribers or low-income serving organizations.