Promoting Smart Growth & Regional Planning
Community Shared Solar
Community shared solar (CSS) allows communities to provide the benefits of a solar project to residents, non-profits, and businesses that are unable to install solar on their properties. In a CSS arrangement, a solar photovoltaic system provides the benefits of solar to multiple participants.
In Massachusetts, these benefits generally come in the form of net metering credits — the energy produced by the CSS system is sold to the energy grid for credits, which are then distributed amongst participants in the shared solar agreement.
Community shared solar offers opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents, renters, and homeowners whose rooftops are unsuitable for solar to invest in renewable energy and receive the cost savings on their monthly utility bill or through an online portal. Projects do not need to be sited in the community they are serving – instead, rooftop installations, solar canopies, or installations on public or private land can be located anywhere in the same utility territory and load zone as the community.
Municipal Program Spotlight:
Newton’s Community Solar Share Initiative
Newton’s Community Solar Share Initiative (CoSSI) is a cooperative pilot program run by the City of Newton, its solar developer Ameresco, energy provider Eversource, and Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD). Newton’s approach to CSS enables the City to spread the financial benefits of their municipal solar canopy project to low-income residents in the community.