23 Legislators, Agencies, Advocates, and Community Organizers from Five States and Washington, D.C. Honored for their Role in Expanding Community Solar
WASHINGTON — The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) today announced that 23 individuals and organizations have been chosen as “Community Solar Champions” for 2022. Award winners were selected for their dedication and progress in supporting and expanding community solar programs around the country. This year’s class of “Community Solar Champions” includes federal and state legislators, state regulators, and advocates for disadvantaged communities, ratepayers, and the environment.
“The Community Solar Champion Awards recognize the crucial role local stakeholders play in the creation and expansion of community solar markets around the country,” said Jeff Cramer, CEO of CCSA. “This year, we are seeing community solar assume a major role in the clean energy transition, with highly ambitious capacity and bill savings targets being set at the federal and state levels. It’s an unprecedented time to be a community solar advocate and these awards are an opportunity to celebrate the lawmakers, organizations, and other leaders working to expand access to clean, cost-effective solar for all. These programs simply wouldn’t be possible without the tireless work from this year’s Champions.”
Through community solar, customers can enjoy equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar generation by subscribing to small, local solar arrays. They then receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of the power that is produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof. This is significant because 76 percent of American households don’t have access to solar power because they either rent, live in a multi-tenant building, or have roofs unable to host a solar system.
This year’s champions hail from Washington, D.C. and five states, including:
For their work in advocating for and securing community solar priorities in the Inflation Reduction Act, introducing the “Community Solar Choice Act,” and mobilizing the federal government to expand community solar through the National Community Solar Partnership.
- U.S. Representative Kathy Castor – U.S. House of Representatives, FL-14
- Alice Lin – Budget and Tax Policy Advisor for U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means
- Jake Kornack – Associate Legislative Representative, Earthjustice
- Nicole Steele and the National Community Solar Partnership – Nicole serves as NCSP Lead and Workforce and Equitable Access Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office
For their work in helping AB 2316 become law. The new law will create a community solar + storage program, to overcome clean energy access barriers impacting nearly half of Californians who rent or have low incomes while strengthening the state’s power grid.
- Assemblymember Chris Ward – California State Assembly, 78th District
- Merriam Borgeson – Senior Scientist, Climate and Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
- Susannah Churchill – Deputy Program Director, West, Vote Solar
- Matt Freedman – Staff Attorney, The Utility Reform Network
- Alexis Sutterman – Energy Equity Program Manager, California Environmental Justice Alliance
- Marc Joseph – Of Counsel, Adams, Broadwell, Joseph, & Cardozo
- Amee Raval – Policy & Research Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
For their work passing SB 176 through the Connecticut General Assembly this year. The bill expands both the state’s commercial rooftop incentive program and the state’s community solar program. The Shared Clean Energy Facility program is now twice the size, procuring 50 megawatts (MW) every year, and also allows up to 5 MW facilities to qualify. The updated program also increases its focus on serving low income and environmental justice.
- State Representative David Arconti – Connecticut House of Representatives, District 109
- Mark Scully – President, People’s Action for Clean Energy
For their work in passing two bills that will improve the state’s existing community solar program through increased project size eligibility for community solar from 2 MW to 5 MW, and property tax exemptions for projects serving low income and on preferred sites (e.g., agrivoltaics, rooftop, and brownfields):
- State Senator Brian Feldman – Maryland State Senate, District 15
- State Senator Nancy King – Maryland State Senate, District 39
- State Senator Benjamin Kramer – Maryland State Senate, District 19
- State Delegate Kumar Barve – Maryland House of Delegates, District 17
- State Delegate Luke Clippinger – Maryland House of Delegates, District 46
- State Delegate Eric Luedtke – Maryland House of Delegates, District 14
- Susan Miller – Senior Attorney, Earthjustice
For his work creating a Grid Modernization Advisory Council as part of the major state climate legislation signed into law this year that will pave the way for the Commonwealth to meet and exceed its carbon reduction goals.
- State Representative Jeff Roy – Massachusetts House of Representatives, 10th Norfolk District
For demonstrating national leadership in community solar by setting a new 10 gigawatt (GW) distributed solar target and expanding the NY-Sun incentive program, dedicating almost $1.5 billion to the expansion of distributed energy generation and community solar to reach the new target.
- New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and New York Department of Public Service (DPS)
CCSA’s Community Solar Champion Awards come at a time when there is growing momentum to accelerate deployment of community solar as more policymakers, host communities, subscribers, and other stakeholders see the demonstrated advantages of these projects. There are currently 22 states and the District of Columbia with policies in place that permit third-party community solar and multiple states advancing legislation to enable new programs.
Nationwide, community solar facilities generate more than 4.4 gigawatts of power, which is enough energy to power nearly 800,000 homes. Recently, New York State became the nation’s community solar leader with capacity to power 200,000 homes. Community solar is expected to generate 70% of progress towards New York’s goal to power 700,000 new homes with distributed solar by 2030, where it will be supported by a program that ensures at least 35% of the financial benefits goes to disadvantaged communities and low-to-moderate income families.
The Biden-Harris administration is calling for community solar to generate power for five million homes and save $1 billion on utility bills for low and moderate-income (LMI) households by 2025. The recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act also includes billions in new incentives for community solar plus storage projects that benefit LMI families and pay prevailing wages.
About Coalition for Community Solar Access
The Coalition for Community Solar Access is a national coalition of businesses and nonprofits working to expand customer choice and access to solar for all American households and businesses through community solar. Our mission is to empower every American energy consumer with the option to choose local, clean and affordable community solar. We work with customers, utilities, local stakeholders and policymakers to develop and implement policies and best practices that ensure community solar programs provide a win, win, win for all, starting with the customer. For more information, visit https://communitysolaraccess.org and follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.