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Clean Energy Collective partners with utilities to offer turnkey community solar programs to customers
without any capital costs.
Recognition & Awards
Recognition & Awards
Selecting a partner
Selecting a partner
A no-cost, no-effort, utility solution to fit your needs:
Whether you are looking for an affordable, in-network solution to meet RPS, clean energy goals, or the ideal way to provide solar energy to your customers,
Clean Energy Collective (CEC) provides you with a proven, turnkey community solar solution.
Your customers will thank you!
19 facilities and counting
What is CEC’s Community-Owned Solar program?
CEC community solar is a revolutionary way for utility companies to offer renewable energy to their customers – all through a turnkey program that doesn’t create an additional workload.
This is how it works
at a high level: CEC locates, funds and constructs a centralized utility-scale (500 kW to 50 MW) solar facility that is interconnected to the utility’s grid at an ideal location. The energy generated flows directly to the utility under a mutually agreed contract (PPA, FIT, etc.) and is controlled by the utility. Customers of the utility have the opportunity to purchase solar panels from the community solar facility. In return, the participating customer is issued its portion of the respective contract (monetary payment) via an on-bill credit applied against their existing utility bill for the energy generated by their panels. The on-bill credit is automatically applied by CEC’s proprietary
software, which integrates directly with the utility’s billing system. All of this is provided to the utility by Clean Energy Collective with no capital costs and no staff time required.
Add to your renewable energy portfolio and customer satisfaction with no added costs!
Why not do your own community solar program ?
The mechanics of community solar are very complex and many companies have tried and struggled to create community-owned solar programs, with CEC being nationally recognized by the
Institute of Local Self Reliance
as the only widely-replicable community solar solution in the country. While community solar is a simple concept, its successful implementation is quite complex, including the following major areas of concern:
Complying with Securities and consumer protection laws that govern how customers can participate in projects and programs
Fulfilling IRS requirements to be able to leverage the 30% solar investment tax credit (ITC) to lower the cost of the system (only available to tax paying entities)
Being able to provide ongoing bill-credits without creating a significant workload for utility staff
Administering the program (marketing, sales, transfers and support) and managing the solar facilities (operations, maintenance and upkeep) for the 30-50 year life of the facility – time consuming and expensive
Find out why partnering with CEC is a smart move.
Find more information on
Selecting a Community Solar Development Partner
Why Clean Energy Collective?
Clean Energy Collective is the nation’s leading provider of community solar solutions, having developed roughly half of all community solar programs in the country. CEC’s approach is unique in that we partner with utilities to build programs that work for them, in most cases launching a program with their brand on it (another no-cost option). CEC has heavily invested for several years to create its proven solution; working within securities laws, consumer protections, tax regulations, automated on-bill crediting (
) and efficiently providing long-term program administration and facility maintenance through a protected trust fund. The resulting solution ensures a successful partnership with utility companies and has a 100% project success rate. No false starts, no failed programs, no changes in terms.
Partnering with CEC is a guaranteed success.
Clean Energy Collective – Milestones
Develops the nation's first commercial-scale, community-owned solar array – Holy Cross Energy, Colorado.
Completes the nation's largest community solar array (858 kW) – Holy Cross Energy.
Earns Renewable Energy Project Merit award.
Energizes the nation’s new largest community solar array (1.12 MW) – San Miguel Power Association, Colorado.
Contracts projects with Xcel Energy (3.5 MW), Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (New Mexico’s first), Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association and Colorado Springs Utilities
Earns Photovoltaic Project of Distinction Award from Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).
Develops the first battery storage community array with Wright-Hennepin Electric, Minnesota.
Develops Vermont’s first community-owned solar array with Green Mountain Power.
We are currently working with more than 100 utilities nationally who are considering community solar programs with CEC. As validated by NREL, the Department of Energy and the Institute of Local Self Reliance, CEC’s program is the best community solar solution in the nation.
Many utilities are interested in the benefits of solar energy but are not interested in building the facilities, paying for the construction, maintaining them over time, etc. While third-party power purchase agreements can get you the solar you want, our program goes even further by also allowing you to provide a solar solution that your customers want (panel ownership), while putting all of the power purchase revenue write back in your customer’s hands and the local economy – instead of shipping it out of town. You get to reap the benefits of a community-owned solar program without any capital expenditures, while we do all the legwork and put forth the capital to build, market, sell and maintain the solar facility.
Your Program. We make it work. You get all of the glory.
Less than 15% of American’s can put traditional solar onsite, regardless of their financial position. Much of the country is poorly sighted for onsite solar according to a study completed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) – part of the Department of Energy, further reduced by those whom rent and don’t own their roof (40%) and multi-family housing – especialy hign rises in urban areas. The 15% is further minimized by those who can’t affort an onsite system – typically $15,000 to $25,000 without special financing. Yet with CEC’s community-owned solar program all ratepayers have access, regardless of their home sighting and more individuals can financially particupate at sizes that fit their finances due to sizing down to 1 panel ($700).
In addition to providing on-bill credit through seamless integration with your billing system, our proprietary RemoteMeter solution also provides you will real-time facility telemetry and meteological data. And, a complete online and mobile system for your ratepayers to allow them to monitor their community solar panels and ongoing production – all free of charge.
Utility Benefits Snapshot for CEC Community-Owned Solar
Your own utility-branded solution (at your option)
An industrial strength solar facility, jointly sighted to compliment your network
Interconnected to your grid, directly feeding you power (not your customers)
Your utility owns and controls the power
Meet RPS and clean energy goals – building your renewable energy portfolio
Your utility owns the RECs (use them for RPS, save them, or monetize them – your choice)
Build customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention
Provide customers with an alternative to self-generation that works for you
Create local jobs and stimulate the local economy
No staff time required and No capital costs
A turnkey, utility-scale clean energy solution
Simply put, we take care of everything.
But don’t take our word for it! Listen to what others are saying about CEC.
Department of Energy
– Awards CEC the DOE 2011 National Innovative Green Power Program of the Year
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
– Ranks CEC as the top community-solar solution in the country and the only solution rated as widely replicable
– Profiled CEC as one of the only community ownership models nationwide
– Awards CEC the 2012 National PV Project of Distinction
Climate Change Business Journal
– Awards CEC the 20123 Project Merit Award
Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute
– Awards CEC the 2011 Land Use Entrepreneur’s Award
CEC is making community solar easy for utilities across the United States with its award winning turnkey program.
Inquire today to find out how easy it is to offer community-owned solar to your customers.
or call 800-646-0323
After all, there’s no harm in exploring options. It only takes a few minutes to learn how we’re leading the nation with a community solar program that’s offered exclusively through utility partnerships.
Learn more about our
Frequently Asked Questions
Download the CEC Utility Overview PDF for more information.
Download the CEC RemoteMeter™ Overview PDF for more information.
Selecting a Community Solar Development Partner
There are many considerations when designing and implementing a community solar program: securities laws, tax laws, consumer protections, ongoing operations and maintenance and a method for on-bill crediting to name a few. You may want to consider a community solar specialist that has already invested the time and money to address the various concerns and who has had the benefit of implementing multiple community solar programs, learning from their real-life experiences. Beyond a match for the type of program you would like to provide, following are few of the key qualifications that you should look for in a community solar development partner. To help you in this process, we have provided a
sample community solar RFP
to help you further facilitate the partner selection process and find the right partner for your needs.
– the partner should have a proven track record of deploying and operating sizeable community solar programs for similar utilities (500+ kW). A minimum of three independent utility examples with adjoining references is advised
Securities and tax assurance
– confirmation that the partner has adequately covered the complicated securities, legal and tax aspects of community solar. This confirmation should take the form of legal memos, prepared by reputable firm(s), detailing the partner’s solution and its compliance with tax, ownership and securities laws. It is important for the program to appropriately use the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to keep costs as low as possible for you and your ratepayers. The ITC cannot simply be passed through to residential customers as they do not qualify in an offsite solution such as community solar.
– whether considering an automated on-bill crediting solution or applying credit by hand, crediting monthly ratepayer bills for the life of the community solar program can represent a significant ongoing expense to your utility. Is the partner able to provide a proven automated solution to your ongoing bill crediting needs? Such solutions should integrate directly with your existing billing system to eliminate redundancy and minimize staff time.
Costs and responsibilities
– what costs and responsibilities will the partner cover: land acquisition and permitting, construction, sales and marketing, operations and maintenance, ongoing administration? Options will vary from those that cover everything in a turnkey solution to covering a single aspect such as sales and marketing. A sound operations and maintenance plan should be provided by the partner, detailing expenditures for the life of the program, funding sources, a protective escrow or trust fund structure and provisions for the partner’s dissolution.
– obtaining financing for solar projects and customer participation can be quite challenging and could drastically, if not permanently, delay your community solar program. Does the partner have an approved financing partner for the construction and carrying of the project(s) and do they offer customer finance solutions for your ratepayers?
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