The Department of Energy has established a competition for solar developers that will award $10 million in prizes to accelerate the development of community solar projects that provide certain benefits to subscribers.
To be in the running for the prizes, a project has to provide two of the following: access for low- to moderate-income households, increased household savings, resilience and grid benefits, community ownership and equitable workforce development.
“The goal of this prize is to grow a robust ecosystem of community solar project developers that incorporate meaningful benefits into projects across the United States,” the agency said in a Jan. 19 release.
DOE will also provide pre-development resources to projects, including training for community solar developers such as free consulting services and coaching on how to expand their customer base to include local underserved populations.
The Community Power Accelerator Prize will disburse funding in phases, awarding $50,000 to up to 25 winners during the initial two-month phase, $200,000 during the following six-month phase, and $150,000 during the third phase, which will also take place over six months.
U.S. community solar developers — including new developers, co-developers, and developers who are expanding community solar operations — are all eligible.
DOE will host an informational webinar about the competition and how to apply on Feb. 1. The submission deadline for the first phase is March 15.