This project is focused on helping to lower the barriers to entry for co-ops interested in owning solar PV. Funded under a DOE SunShot grant, the project team has developed reference materials that help co-ops get up-to-speed on solar, and tools to help analyze their solar and financing options and streamline implementation. These include standardized engineering designs, a cost and financial screening tool, a communications toolkit, online and in-person training materials, the Community Solar Playbook and the Project Managers Guide. In addition, the project has enabled peer-to-peer learning and sharing of best practices with respect to land acquisition and system deployment, business models that work for co-ops, options for offering community-solar, and more. Co-op project partners have installed more than 20 MW of utility-scale, utility-owned solar PV. Typical projects range in size from 250 kW to more than 12 MW. Program partners include: National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), National Renewable Cooperative Organization (NRCO), Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange, CoBank, PowerSecure, and 17 co-ops. The program runs from September 2013 through April 2018.
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