- With NRG Energy subsidiaries NRG Home Solar and NRG Renew jointly bringing online a 1 MW array in Massachusetts, the company announced it is entering the community shared solar market with the full force of its corporate resources, Greentech Media reports.
- NRG Home Solar marketed and managed customer acquisition for the new array and subsidiary NRG Renew, in partnership with Borrego Solar, oversaw the build and will handle project operations.
- The project’s return will be re-monetized by subsidiary NRG Yield, a yieldco in which investors buy shares and earn a regular dividend. The capability to handle development, marketing, and financing makes NRG Energy, according to the company, the first vertically integrated community solar developer.
NRG, through its subsidiaries, has more than 100 MW of community shared solar projects in planning or development in Massachusetts and Minnesota and is pursuing opportunities elsewhere but is limited because few states have enabling legislation. The company expects the sector to play a big part of its business after 2016, when policy advances further.
GTM Research recently called community shared solar “the biggest solar opportunity in the U.S. in the next five years.” It allows developers to build central arrays and sell shares of the output to utility customers without solar suitable roofs which, according to NRG Home CEO Steve McBee, are 74% of the company’s solar-interested customers.
“I love community solar. It is a world-beating idea and that is a lot of solar sales we aren’t making,” McBee recently told Utility Dive. “It is also a question of fairness and access. You should not be prevented from buying solar because you don’t own a rooftop.”
NRG will soon complete an 8.2 MW Colorado community shared solar installation in partnership with SunShare but the new Massachusetts array represents its move toward becoming an independent player in the space.