Faribault Community Solar Receives Sunny Awards Distinction

Faribault Community Solar Receives Sunny Awards Distinction

The National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP), a program initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), unites a coalition of stakeholders dedicated to expanding affordable community solar access to every household in the United States. The program’s overarching goal is to empower communities by enabling them to realize a multitude of meaningful benefits.

These valuable benefits include:

  1. Greater Household Savings: By leveraging the potential of community solar projects, households can enjoy significant cost savings on their electricity bills.
  2. Low- to Moderate-Income (LMI) Household Access: NCSP focuses on ensuring that community solar is accessible to LMI households, making renewable energy opportunities inclusive and equitable.
  3. Increased Resilience: Community solar initiatives enhance the resilience of communities, allowing them to better withstand and recover from disruptions in the energy supply.
  4. Community Ownership: NCSP promotes the development of community-owned solar projects, fostering a sense of ownership and pride within the communities they serve.
  5. Equitable Workforce Development: The program actively supports workforce development, providing job opportunities and promoting equitable participation in the clean energy sector.

By 2025, NCSP aims to achieve an impressive milestone – powering the equivalent of 5 million households through community solar projects and generating cumulative energy bill savings of $1 billion.

The Sunny Awards, introduced in 2022, play a pivotal role in this journey. This prestigious recognition program celebrates outstanding community solar projects and programs that exemplify best practices in promoting equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities.

These community solar benefits extend beyond individual households. They extend their positive impact to the very fabric of organizations and the surrounding communities where these projects are developed and operated. Through the Sunny Awards and NCSP’s ongoing efforts, communities across the nation are harnessing the power of solar to create a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

Faribault Community Solar – A Cooperative Success!

Project Name: Faribault Community Solar
Location: Faribault, MN
Project Size: 1.3 MW
Project Subscribers: 87% residential, 13% nonprofit and governmental entities
Year Energized: 2020
Lead Organization: Cooperative Energy Futures
Partner Organizations: Community Power, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, North Country Cooperative Foundation
Business Model: Cooperatively-owned
State/Utility Programs Leveraged: Xcel Energy Solar Rewards Community program
Bill Savings: 24%
LMI Access: 49.7% of residential subscribers are LMI households

The Faribault Community Solar project is a shining example of community collaboration. Developed by Cooperative Energy Futures under the Xcel Energy Solar Rewards Community program, it operates as a cooperative model. This means that all subscribers also become member-owners of Cooperative Energy Futures, enjoying annual share dividends and voting rights in key decisions. This community ownership model empowers households, giving them a say in their community’s clean energy future and the opportunity to build wealth.

With 77 subscribers benefiting from bill savings, almost half of them are low- to moderate-income households. Cooperative Energy Futures prioritizes inclusivity and ease of enrollment, not requiring individual income verification for subscribers. Additionally, they employ an innovative back-up subscriber model, ensuring project capacity remains in use even during vacancies or defaults among residents. Faribault Community Solar is a true success story, demonstrating the power of cooperation and community-driven clean energy initiatives.

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