Part 1- Energy Transition Trend Report: Community Solar

by Thomas Biddinger

With the Inflation Reduction Act underway alongside global efforts to limit the Earth’s warming, Calibrant is publishing a three-part series examining the top energy transition trends for the second half of 2023. This week, we kick things off with community solar – a space that is often overlooked but holds massive potential.

The growth of community solar

Community solar helps expand access to green energy solutions for individuals, businesses and other groups who can buy or lease portions of the solar panels. Community solar is one solution among many that will play a role in combating emissions and keeping pace with green energy goals. These off-site solar arrays make it possible for renters, those without suitable rooftops or people who are not able to make the upfront investment to install solar panels to access green energy. The Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership is working to increase the number of community solar installations in the US to 20 GW by 2050 – enough to power five million households.

As with many other industries, community solar has faced some recent headwinds due largely to post-pandemic supply chain constraints, but we are optimistic about this sector over the long term. Indeed, community solar is forecasted to see continued growth, with a projected CAGR of 20% from 2022 to 2027 per Wood Mackenzie. .  We are seeing a significant uptick in community solar interest in New York where Q3 2022 installation volumes in the state accounted for more than 60% of the national market.

The growth in community solar is making a difference. By 2027, assuming current market conditions, Wood Mackenzie expects community solar to account for 40% of annual non-residential capacity. That growth will not be led by New York alone. We will see an increase in activity in states such as Virginia and New Mexico with projects coming online in 2023 to bolster near-term growth for the sector. Chances are, there is a project under consideration or development in a community near you.

No two community solar projects are identical. They vary greatly by location, size, and scope – designed to align with the space available and deliver against the needs of the local power market. They are also highly dependent upon local laws and regulations, which makes planning and coordination essential from beginning to end of each project. That’s where Calibrant comes into the equation and excels. As an established energy-as-a-service provider, we provide bespoke solutions and help deliver client partners access to resources and flexible pricing options to help ensure community solar continues to be part of the solution to our nation’s energy transition needs for decades to come.

Thomas Biddinger is the Director of Business Development & Partnerships at Calibrant Energy.