Local governments stand at the forefront of decarbonization and renewable energy adoption. Due to their high electricity costs and access to both rooftops and open space, municipalities, counties, and other local governments can make ideal customers for solar projects. As of Jan 2022, more than 180 U.S. communities have committed to 100 percent renewable electricity, with 50 having already achieved this goal.

That’s a good start, but it’s still not enough to reach full decarbonization. Although many local leaders remain committed to transitioning to clean energy, there are still some who either might not realize the full benefits of renewable energy or who might need some convincing. 

And that’s where EPCs and project developers can step in with the information and data to get the ball rolling for solar deployment on local government buildings. The right mix of funding, planning, and PV project value can be just what it takes to help your local government transition to renewable energy.

Resources, Tools, and Funding

Thankfully there are a variety of resources and online tools available to help local governments electrify and decarbonize. These resources also provide EPCs and developers with additional tools to draft targeted RFPs that generate the most benefits and value. 

A significant recent development in this field has been the launch of State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE). This easy-to-access online platform supports data-driven state and local energy and decarbonization planning through two main functions: a scenario planner and a data viewer. The former compares energy, costs, and emissions scenarios, and the latter allows stakeholders to explore city, county, and state data on renewables, efficiency, and transportation. With this information, users can explore energy data potential and projects to identify more opportunities for solar projects.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers the Local Government Solar Project Portal. This platform has resources for project development, and users gain access to a network of industry experts and stakeholders and training, webinars, and workshops. The website also maintains the Local Government Solar Project List. This detailed table lists solar project progress from participating municipalities, which lets users leverage the experience of other developers with similar challenges and opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) released the third edition of Solar Power In Your Community in Jan. 2022. This in-depth introduction of community solar includes case studies of real-world applications, supplemental resources, reports, references, tools, and a state and federal policy guide. Local governments are excellent candidates for pursuing community solar installations, and a successful program needs to engage and excite potential customers about getting involved. City-led community solar projects have better chances to succeed because officials and politicians have more familiarity with outreach programs and local residents.

RMI and World Resources Institute have a tool for locating funding opportunities in the Federal Funding Opportunities for Local Decarbonization (FFOLD) system. FFOLD helps local governments prioritize and leverage existing federal funding to advance system-wide energy transition goals. These opportunities include identifying block grants, technical assistance, competitive grants, loans, and revolving loan funds.

The National Community Solar Partnership also provides an extensive network of solar industry veterans of EPCs, developers, and installers to promote and nurture more significant community solar deployment.

These resources, platforms, and groups are smart first steps to help EPCs and developers find the right solar solution for their local governments. 

Trina Solar’s C&I Solutions Helps Deliver the Extra Value

At the end of the day, local governments still need to ensure all new projects benefit the community and deliver increased value for residents.

Trina Solar’s C&I Solutions innovatively bundles modules, inverters, and racking systems into an all-in-one design that makes solar installations simpler, faster, and more efficient. This sophisticated commercial solar solution helps ensure optimized system performance that translates into better energy gains and a lower levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) to deliver the extra value needed to get local governments noticing and signing up for solar power. 
Reach out to the commercial solar experts at Trina Solar to learn more.

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