There is a great potential for people interested in advancing the solar cause to work together for the common good.
DC Sun is one local organization working towards the goal of expanding solar access in DC. The organization has a number of initiatives, ranging from policy advocacy to fundraising. Here are some ways that DC Sun and organizations like it can promote the growth of solar power in their local communities:
1. Advocate pro-solar policies.
Simply by raising awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of solar power, community organizations can spark a grassroots effort to encourage new solar projects. And organizations also have the potential to influence policymakers at the local and state level. There are a number of legislative issues that can encourage solar, such as increasing solar tax breaks and reducing zoning restrictions. By promoting pro-solar policies, community groups can go a long way to encouraging individuals and businesses to go solar in their areas.
2. Raise funding for installations
DC Sun has an initiative called the Community emPOWERment Fund that collects money for nonprofits to go solar. The money is raised through referral fees of installers who are members of the organization. This type of funding is a win-win: nonprofits get access to more affordable solar power, and local solar installers get more business. It helps the environment and the economy at once!
3. Bulk purchase programs
Another way to reduce costs for organizations is through bulk-purchasing of solar. This means that a group of organizations jointly purchases multiple systems at once. There are many advantages to this strategy: economies of scale mean panels can be purchased for less money, many installers will bid on these projects driving the costs down further, and each organization has access to central resources to streamline the process. And ultimately, large initiatives such as bulk purchasing will result in more community awareness of the availability of solar power through press coverage and public announcements of each organization involved.
4. Offer information about incentives
There are many incentives and other credits that make going solar more attractive. SRECs, (solar renewable energy credits) , state issued rebates, and federal tax credits are just some of the many ways individuals and organizations can save even more money on solar power. Since each state’s incentive programs are different, community solar organizations can make it easier to find accurate and up-to-date information about these programs and help potential buyers understand the numbers.