Community Solar+ Reimagines the Potential for Community Solar to Advance Local Climate and Equity Goals per RMI Report

Community solar projects can do far more for communities than expand access to clean energy and create local jobs; with a new approach called “Community Solar+,” projects can accelerate numerous other community-wide sustainability and equity goals.

BOULDER, Colo., April 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The first generation of community solar enabled greater access to clean energy while boosting local jobs and economic investments. A new RMI report released today introduces “Community Solar+,” a whole-systems approach to planning and deploying community solar projects to capture greater economies of scale and advance community-wide sustainability and equity goals.

Community solar projects have increased 10-fold in the United States since 2015. Community Solar+ shows how this continued growth presents an undertapped opportunity to use community solar to help achieve climate action targets more strategically and equitably.

Community Solar+ is doing more with less…this means better managing competing priorities for limited city budgets.

“At its core, Community Solar+ is doing more with less. So, rather than just focusing on the clean energy component, projects can be designed to also help build out EV charging, prepare the grid for an electrified future, mitigate urban heat island effects, and more,” said Madeline Tyson, RMI manager and report co-author. “For local governments, this means better managing competing priorities for limited city budgets.”

The report provides a new framework, an illustrative financial model, four case studies, and recommendations for state and local governments, utilities, and developers to think more deliberately about full project value when planning and deploying new community solar projects. Additional values that can be achieved through Community Solar+ include:

  • Accelerating investment in EV charging infrastructure
  • Increasing energy resilience for critical assets and vulnerable communities
  • Aligning evolving grid and customer needs for an electrified future
  • Creating a more equitable energy system
  • Providing covered parking and weather protection
  • Mitigating urban heat island effects

“Momentum is building for more community solar. But let’s deploy community solar in a way that truly creates community assets,” said Matthew Popkin, RMI manager and report co-author. “I hope Community Solar+ gives state, local, and utility leaders the tools and creative license to think outside the box in pursuit of a more electrified, resilient, and equitable clean energy future.”

To download the report and an infographic on Community Solar+, visit:

Media Inquiries please contact: 

Mike Banker, Strategic Communications Manager, T: +1 303.567.8549 E:

About RMI 

RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing. 

More information on RMI can be found at or follow us on Twitter @RockyMtnInst.  

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