Community Energy Directory

Community Energy Installations & Groups

Thanks to Solar Gardens Institute researchers for helping to document the mushrooming movement for community based energy around the world!

Joy Hughes – Founder, Solar Gardens Institute – CEO, The Solar Panel Hosting Company

Stanley Florek – Research Chair, Solar Gardens Institute – CEO, Tangerine Power

Page last revised August 25, 2011.

General Resources

Solar Gardens Institute

Group dedicated to sound policy for community energy at national, state, and local levels.

Solar Gardens Fan Page on Facebook
Folks from around the world, interested in community solar energy.

Africa

Solar Gardens Africa Group on Facebook

Off-grid communities in Africa can leapfrog to solar PV.

Australia

Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy AssociationUpwey, Victoria

Community-based non-profit has installed several PV and hot water systems.

Hepburn Community Wind FarmDaylesford, Victoria

Owner and operator of Australia’s first community owned wind farm, with two 2MW turbines operating.  Winner of the Premier’s Sustainability Award for 2011 in the community category.

Canada

British Columbia

Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-Op - Vancouver, BC

Worker’s cooperative solar energy company.

Ontario

Ontario Power Authority – Toronto, ON

The Ontario Power Authority is offering North America’s first and most generous feed-in tariff.

For solar PV projects, Co-operative Members can buy Preference Shares to enable the Co-op to raise the equity to buy & install the equipment, and to give those Members a dividend based on the number of Shares that they hold after projects are connected to the grid and generate revenue.

Our PowerToronto, ON

Provides on-line and in-person solar education, information and tools for decision making support, as well as a wiki that describes the “Our Power Process” for organizing community buying groups.

TREC Renewable Energy Cooperative – SolarShare, WindShare, LakeWindToronto, ON

In development for two years now, SolarShare is a co-operative that will build multiple rooftop solar- electric projects of up to 250kW in size, which it will finance, develop, maintain and operate.  All Ontarians will be able to invest in the SolarShare projects, which are aimed at generating up to 8% return on investments.

WindShare is TREC’s for-profit co-op which owns and operates the 660kW Exhibition Place wind turbine in Toronto

LakeWind will be TREC’s 20 MW wind farm, slated for construction in 2013.

Italy

Solare CollettivoRacconigi, Italy

40+ individuals finance a 20kW solar energy system.

United States

Interfaith Power and LightSan Francisco, CA

A religious response to global warming, including rooftop solar.
Represents 30 states and over 10,000 congregations.

Interstate Renewable Energy CouncilLatham, NY
National organization since 1982.  Has prepared a template for state laws- the Community Renewable Power Proposal.  It is also the host site for DSIRE, the best database of US, State, and utility financial incentives for renewable energy.

The Solar Panel Hosting Company - Westminster, CO

For those who can’t go solar on site, provides opportunities to own solar panels elsewhere in their communities.

Arizona

Tucson Electric Power, Bright Tucson Community Solar ProgramTucson, AZ

Municipal utility-owned program that lets users buy blocks of solar energy.  TEP plans to expand its solar generating capacity from 25 MW in 2011 to 200 MW by the end of 2014.

Flagstaff Community PowerFlagstaff, AZ

Arizona Public Service project approved April 2010. Customers on the same feeder line can own or lease solar panels. See also: http://www.azruco.gov/pc_aps_flagstaff_pilot.htm

Soaring HeightsDavis – Monthan AFB, AZ

6,000 kilowatts of community solar on a military base, developed by SolarCity.

Solar CommonsPhoenix, AZ

Advocates for the common law principle of right-of-way applied to electric power. A 10 kilowatt demonstration project, owned in trust, has been proposed. The array will produce revenue for energy efficiency in low income households.

California

Clean Power Cooperative - Nevada County, CA

Grassroots cooperative advocating for those without solar potential on site to participate in state and local solar initiatives. The group plans to organize local power in Nevada County.

Cooperative Community EnergySan Rafael, CA

Solar installation company owned by buyer’s co-op.

Go Solar Co-opWilton, CA

Employee owned solar installer.

SMUD Solar SharesSacramento, CA

1,000 kilowatt project developed by municipal utility (Sacramento Municipal Utility District). Subscribers pay a
flat monthly fee to rent a share.

Plaza East Apartments and Hayes Valley North and SouthSan Francisco, CA

A solar power system installed through California Solar Initiative’s Multi-family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program. Residents at each property will receive 50 percent of the energy produced by the solar system free of charge.
Real Goods Solar hired residents to install the solar panels. MASH program details http://www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/affordable/mash.php

Colorado

Solar Gardens Colorado on Facebook:

Arkansas River Valley

Boulder

Denver Metro

San Luis Valley

Colorado Harvesting Energy NetworkGreenwood Village, CO

Facilitates the development of community-based renewable energy projects that advance Colorado’s New Energy Economy.  Sponsored by Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Colorado Working Landscapes.

Westminster seed gardenWestminster, CO

10kW existing array to use as a “test bed” for solar gardens models. Headquarters of the Solar Gardens Institute. Managed by The Solar Panel Hosting Company

Founders Garden Jefferson County, CO

70-acre site with proposed 2,000 kW solar garden and wholesale distributed generation. Uses the “Open Garden” model, allowing multiple solar companies to participate. Managed by The Solar Panel Hosting Company

Clean Energy Collective - Carbondale, CO

CEC’s initial 80 kW for-profit community project has been followed by an 868 kW project at the Garfield County Airport, working through Holy Cross Rural Electric Association. A 2 MW solar farm near El Jebel is in the planning stages. Subscribers join a limited liability corporation and gain ownership of equipment.

Nederland Renewable Energy ProjectNederland, CO

Nonprofit grassroots group has proposed a 17 acre solar, wind, and small hydroelectric project owned by members.

Saguache Alliance for Green Energy (SAGE) – Saguache, CO

Town and nonprofits working together for energy efficiency.

The Solar Panel Hosting CompanyWestminster, CO

For those who can’t go solar on site, provides opportunities to own solar panels elsewhere in their communities.

United Power SolPartners Cooperative Solar FarmBrighton, CO

Utility owned 10 kilowatt project opened in May 2009. Customers receive a 25-year lease on a specific solar panel, gaining approximately 3% return.

Provides bill credit of $.09 per kWh produced, 500W minimum purchase.  Solar garden must be between 100kW and 500kW in size, and each garden must be owned by a different entity.  Up to 2 MW will be offered in this pilot program.

District of Columbia

Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative Washington, DC

Community solar group which has installed panels on over 100 homes and has spawned sister co-ops in 6 other Washington, DC neighborhoods. The idea is that members will merely have to sign up—and they will get solar power installed on their roof.

Georgetown Energy Washington, DC

Cooperative solar buyer’s group in historic Washington neighborhood.

Florida

Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Community Solar Lease ProgramKey West, FL

In return for leasing one or more panels for $999 each, members receive monthly bill credits for the full retail value of the electricity generated by their leased panel(s) for 25 years.

Georgia

Weatherford Place Roswell, GA

Eight LEED Platinum certified homes. Southern Company engineered and installed a hybrid metering system for the neighborhood. With this system, the homes will be billed for electricity at the regular residential rate, but will have a second meter to register the production of electricity from their solar roof systems. Georgia Power will “buy back” electricity produced by the solar panels.

Maryland

University Park Solar - University Park, MD

21.9 kilowatt system installed on a church- dedication June 12, 2010. Members join a Limited Liability Corporation and receive a return on investment.  Their next project is an installation on the nearby University Park Elementary School.

See also: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/partner/standard-solar-inc-/news/article/2010/04/residents-of-university-park-maryland-band-together-in-first-community-initiated-solar-electric-system

Common Cents Solar Bethesda, MD

Non-profit solar installer.

Massachusetts

Brewster Community Solar Garden™Brewster, MA

Members in this Cape Cod community join for-profit LLC and receive proportional returns from a community solar system under Massachusetts’s Green Communities Act.  In May, 2011, town voters authorized the use of municipal facilities for solar arrays, including the town landfill.

Falmouth Community Solar Garden™Falmouth, MA

Members join for-profit LLC and receive proportional returns from a community solar system under Massachusetts’s Green Communities Act

My Generation Energy

For-profit company specializing in Community Solar Gardens™ under the Mass. Green Communities Act.

Co-Op PowerGreenfield, MA

Buyer’s co-op of efficiency and renewable solutions serving New England and New York .  Uses a “neighbor-to-neighbor” method to spread renewable energy solutions.  As of August 2011, has over 390 members, 7,000 supporters, and has raised $300,000 in members’ equity capital.  Is constructing a 3.5 million gallon per year sustainable biodiesel plant.

New Jersey

Mars Solar Garden Hackettstown, NJ

Did you know 20% of M&M’s® are now produced using solar power? (Maybe the yellow ones…) It’s worth going to the link just to see the spokescandies in front of a 2,000 kilowatt solar array.

New Mexico

Solar Gardens New Mexico on Facebook

Kit Carson Electric CooperativeTaos, NM

Built New Mexico’s largest solar array (in 2008) at University of New Mexico.  Starting in 2011, community solar projects will be built to provide power for specific numbers of homes within a neighborhood and subsidized by KCEC. The residents will own a portion of these arrays. the cost of a one-panel share might be $571, so the buyer would pay 2-3 cents more per kilowatt for renewable energy, but also receive a one-time tax credit of about $230.

KTAO Solar RadioTaos, NM

Radio transmitter powered by a solar array – also sports a solar carport at its offices.

35 kW demonstration program at Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell is part of XCEL Energy’s “Community Solar” program.

New York

Solar Gardens New York on Facebook

Solar One, I Heart PV, Empire State Solar Initiative New York, NY

Community group dedicated to a feed-in tariff and “green renters”.

North Carolina

Community Megawatt Solar InitiativeBoone, NC

Group has installed a 2.4 kW community system on The Greenhouse, as well as a 10 kilowatt system on the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville, NC, as part of the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy.

Oregon

Solar Gardens Pacific Northwest on Facebook

Ashland Solar Pioneer

Ashland Solar Pioneer II - Ashland, OR

63.5 kilowatt community owned system. Customers purchase the output of the panels for 20 years.

Corvallis High School- Corvallis, OR

2.3 kilowatt system (100 kilowatts planned over 10 years.) Several more sites planned around Corvallis. Developed by Tangerine Solar.

Solarize PortlandPortland, OR

Community group taking hundreds of homes solar in Portland, Oregon.

Bonneville Environmental Foundation Portland, OR

Helped fund the first community solar project in Ellensburg, WA. Among other projects, has created 177 solar PV projects on schools in 16 states as of August 2011.

Utah

SunSmartSt. George, UT

Community solar array completed January 2009. Participation will be sold in whole and half units of 1 kilowatt installed solar PV capacity. Purchasers of SunSmart will own the unit for a minimum of 19 years, when the panels will be evaluated to determine if they need to be replaced or repaired. The purchaser will have the choice to pay the cost, if there is one, and continue owning the unit or they can decline and the unit will be available for others to purchase.  Homeowners can receive state tax credits for installations not on the homeowner’s property.

Washington

Solar Gardens Pacific Northwest on Facebook

Ellensburg Solar Community Project (ESCAPE)Ellensburg, WA

Conceived in 2003, with Phase I built in 2006, this project was the first of its kind in the US. A third phase added 180 thin-film modules and reservations are being taken for Phase V. Members participate in financing and receive bill credit at wholesale rates. (See also http://www.ci.ellensburg.wa.us/index.aspx?NID=310 )

Solar for SakaiBainbridge Island, WA

5 kilowatt array on intermediate school, funded by community donations.

Community Energy SolutionsBainbridge Island, WA

Advocates for and sponsors community energy projects, provides information for community groups, and advocates for legislation.

Cascade Community Wind Bellingham, WA

Members purchase a share of power produced by wind turbines for a 20-year period.  The First Up! Knutson 100kW wind turbine went operational on June 15, 2011.

SustainableEdmondsEdmonds, WA

Local citizens group installing 4.2 kW of solar panels on the roof of Edmonds’ Frances Anderson Center, with a total buildout of 75 kW anticipated.  Partnering with Tangerine Power.

Tangerine Power- Seattle, WA

For-benefit company specializing in community solar. Offers shares in solar arrays called SunSlices™.

Northwest SEED - Seattle, WA

Sustainable Energy for Economic Development – provides case studies in community energy, a community energy guidebook, and hosts the Community Energy Roadmap Summit each June.  Is working with Seattle City Light to build 24 kW of solar on park picnic shelters, is building 130 kW in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, and has opened applications for the Magnolia community solar project through October 31, 2011.

Wisconsin

Community Solar WisconsinMadison, WI

Lots of great resources, spreadsheets, and case studies on community solar development.