Western Area Power Administration and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) are teaming up to present a webinar that explores the utility’s role in the community solar market segment on Feb. 4, 2015, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.
The community solar model offers utilities an innovative way to engage with customers who want to invest in renewable energy but, for a variety of reasons, may not be able to install rooftop arrays. Community solar programs offer utility customers the opportunity to buy “shares” in a centralized project, often called a solar farm or solar garden. Utilities around the nation are using these programs to meet growing consumer interest in supporting renewable energy.
SEPA has been tracking the spread of these projects across the United States since early 2012. With nearly 60 active programs, utilities represent 87 percent of all community solar programs now online.
Utility Trends in Adopting Community Solar Models will open with Becky Campbell, SEPA Senior Manager of Research and Advisory Services, defining community solar and explaining why some utilities see it as a valuable customer engagement tool. Using case studies of actual utility programs to support the discussion, she will highlight nationwide utility trends in program adoption.
Presentations will cover additional data, including actual participation statistics that SEPA collected through a 2014 survey of utility program administrators. Atttendees will also learn about design characteristics common to some of the nation’s most successful community solar programs.
Randy Manion, manager of Western’s Renewable Resource Program, is urging Western customers to attend the webinar to learn more about this strategy for adding solar power to utility resource portfolios. “Several of our customers have already launched community solar programs, including Colorado Springs Utilities, Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association and Kit Carson Electric Cooperative,” he noted. “Their members have been enthusiastic, and many projects are fully subscribed before construction is complete.”
There is no cost to attend the webinar, but registration is required.