How the Community Power Accelerator Works
Here's how to join the accelerator and access the services, trainings, and resources available
The Community Power Accelerator is helping increase access to the funding and technical expertise necessary to deploy community solar across the country.
By providing training courses, guidance, and technical assistance for pre-development planning, as well as an online platform to make connections, the Accelerator is built to help developers and community-based organizations step of the way from project conception to deployment.
To reach our goal of ensuring 5 million households have access to community solar power, we need to rapidly deploy community solar across the country - and the Community Power Accelerator helps meet this moment.
The Community Power Accelerator Platform: Connecting Capital Providers and Developers
The online Accelerator platform uses advanced algorithms to help developers, community-based organizations, lenders, and philanthropic organizations identify and connect with each other. Here's how:
Developers and capital providers sign up for the Accelerator and create profiles that identify the kinds of solar projects they are interested in deploying.
- For developers, that means sharing information about the organization's role, location, size, capacity, and more.
- For investors, lenders, and philanthropies, that means sharing information about the location, scale of funding available, and the kinds of projects they are interested in funding.
- Developers using the accelerator must complete at least one project profile on the platform in order to connect with funders. This includes detailed information about a specific community solar project, including ownership, location, size, projected benefits, site control, development stage, and types of capital needed for development.
- Developers that do not have a project ready to post are encouraged to utilize Accelerator resources, which are designed to help build a pipeline of new projects.
- Every organizational and project profile is reviewed by a technical assistance provider for completeness and accuracy prior to being posted on the accelerator platform. These reviews typically take 2-5 business days, and in some cases longer. The reviews ensure projects submitted to the platform meet minimum requirements for investors and funders and are aligned with the Accelerator's goal of providing meaningful benefits to communities.
- The Accelerator uses algorithms to match projects and developers with investors, lenders, and philanthropists whose priorities align based on the criteria submitted. You can also use the “Discover” feature to sort and filter projects based on location, size, meaningful benefits, and other criteria.
- Once you've found a project or capital partner that might be a good fit, you can use the platform to request contact. Your personal information and contact data will remain private until you choose to share it.
- Get your project funded OR Fund a project!
The Credit-Ready Checklist: Build a Strong Project Plan
The Credit-Ready Checklist is the key resource that developers can use to ready their projects to shop around to funders. It contains a list of 47 important pre-development considerations, including information about system size, siting, ownership, capital structure, revenues, and costs.
This checklist was developed in collaboration with more than 40 representatives from financial institutions familiar with solar lending, including commercial banks, community development financial institutions, green banks, and credit unions. Lenders, philanthropic organizations, and developers can use this checklist to start initial conversations about funding for community solar projects.
Technical Assistance: Your Guide through the Checklist
The National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) provides free one-on-one assistance to complete the Credit-Ready Checklist, helping address financial, technical, and policy challenges and develop project profiles.
Please note that the technical assistance program does not provide financial assistance, accounting or tax advice, advocacy, or marketing support. Organizations must be a National Community Solar Partnership partner to be eligible to apply for and receive technical assistance.
Community Solar Bootcamp (a.k.a. Learning Lab)
New to Community Solar? The Community Solar Bootcamp (a.k.a. Learning Lab) offers developers access to both a self-paced community solar 101 training and a longer 10-week intensive course, both of which lead to expertise on community solar projects and business models for small and new developers, nonprofit organizations, cooperatives, intermediary organizations, and other organizations. The Community Solar Bootcamp is run by the Center for Impact Finance at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey School of Public Policy in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy National Community Solar Partnership.
The Community Power Accelerator Prize: Earn Funding for Equitable Community Solar Projects
The American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize is a $10 million prize competition designed to fast-track the efforts of new, emerging, and expanding solar developers and co-developers to learn, participate, and grow their operations to support multiple, successful community solar projects. Learn more
The Philanthropy Guide: Prepare to Gain Philanthropic Support
The Philanthropy-Ready Guide provides guidance to community-based organizations, nonprofits, and mission-aligned developers seeking philanthropic support to develop community solar.