Solar Gardener Training
A community solar garden is a solar array on a very large rooftop or a few acres of ground. Those who rent or have shaded roofs can subscribe, owning panels in the array and receive credit on their electric bills. Solar gardens laws are coming into effect in several U.S. states.
Community Supported Energy is a way to finance a solar array to supply the electric load of a public building, non-profit, or house of worship. The array is “crowdfunded” by local small investors.
A solar gardener is a combination community organizer / project manager who organizes the subscribers, finds the site, and guides the project through the development process. Solar gardeners aren’t hired – they emerge. A solar gardener works with local nonprofits, utilities, counties and municipalities, and traditional & social media.
Become a solar gardener!
- View solar gardener training videos below.
- Introduction to Solar Gardens
- Community Solar Models
- Solar Gardens Policy
- Organizing for Community Solar
- Working with Your Local Utility
- Finding a Site for Your Solar Garden
- Solar Gardens Finance
See videos and presentations below on these topics:
Solar 101 provides an introduction to basic solar, finance, and utility terminology. What is the difference between a kilowatt and a kilowatt-hour? How many solar panels does it take to power the average home?
Introduction to Solar Gardens answers basic solar gardens questions – What is a solar garden? How does it work? How can I start one in my area? How can the Solar Gardens Institute support my program?
Joy Hughes - Introduction to Solar Gardens
Climate change as an existential risk
What is a solar gardener?
The Solar Gardner Training Program
Questions and Answers
Bringing Solar to Low-Income Communities
GRID Alternatives empowers low-income families by installing solar PV systems on their homes, while training the families, job trainees, and the community at large in the installation process. Learn more in this video and PowerPoint from the San Francisco Bay Area Community Solar Confluence.
Formerly called Feed-in Tariffs, CLEAN programs provide an excellent way to promote community power — and the Clean Coalition is helping to facilitate that. Learn more in this video and PowerPoint from the San Francisco Bay Area Community Solar Confluence.
Community Choice Aggregation
Another powerful model for community energy is community choice aggregation, or CCA. Learn more about CCA and the CleanPowerSF program in this talk by Eric Brooks of Our City, at the San Francisco Bay Area Community Solar Confluence.
Federal and New York policy
Learn how to promote good community solar policy, with this overview of state and municipal legislation for solar gardens and the U.S. Federal SUN Act.
Learn about a bill in California before the state legislature in 2012, which would allow virtual net metering in the state. This presentation was given at the San Francisco Bay Area Community Solar Confluence by Tom Price and Brandon Keefe of Cleanpath Ventures: SB 843 – Presentation at San Francisco Bay Area Community Solar Confluence
Learn how to build a network of hosts and subscribers in your community – how to combine policy advocacy, residential solar group purchase, community supported energy, and solar gardens in your area to create a comprehensive community solar program.
Learn how to understand your power company’s motivations and work with them, how solar can help or hurt the grid, and how community ownership can avoid regressive cost shifting by making solar more equitable.
Gary Nystedt of Ellensburg Municipal Utilities - Ellensburg Community Solar
Power lines are so ubiquitous that we tend not to notice them. Learn how to find an appropriate site for your solar garden where it can easily be connected to the grid.
Learn about tax and securities laws and their implications for community solar; advantages and disadvantages of cooperative and LLC models; and ownership, leasing, and power purchase agreements.
Solar Gardens Finance: State of the Art
Learn about the latest in solar gardens finance in this video and presentation by Joy Hughes at the San Francisco Bay Area Community Solar Confluence.
Learn how a Maryland church went solar with 35 small investors. Programs like this can be implemented in many places while we develop full solar gardens policy.
At the San Francisco Bay Area Community Solar Confluence, we heard about some models emerging in the area. Learn more about them here!
Learn how Everybody Solar provides free solar to nonprofits in this talk by Youness Scally.
Andreas Karelas of RE-volv told us about his organization’s revolving fund for community solar projects.
San Francisco Energy Co-operative
Learn about the model offered by the San Francisco Energy Co-operative, which allows everyone to participate in community power.