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Shine: Community Scale Solar

We aim to help community-scale solar reach its 30-gigawatt market potential.

What is Shine?

Shine develops innovative community-scale solar projects—leveraging economies of scale, standardized system design, innovative business models, and other levers—to make solar energy more affordable and accessible to greater numbers of customers by better reaching underserved market segments like multifamily dwellings, commercial and industrial properties, and universities across the country.

Why It Matters

Tens of millions of U.S. homes and businesses can’t access solar electricity for reasons that include financing constraints, not owning their property, the lack of a suitable roof for solar, or high prices due to poor adaptation of system design and business models in combination with lack of competition. Community-scale solar can change that and provide affordable access to this clean energy source.

photovoltaic panels

Who’s Involved

The community-scale solar market segment is for everyone, especially homes and businesses; utilities—including municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, and investor-owned utilities; community-based organizations; and solar developers.

What We’re Doing

RMI’s Shine program acts as a buyer’s representative for rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities. In this role, RMI acts on the buyer’s behalf from scoping, through competitive requests for proposals (RFPs), and on to project implementation and evaluation.

Procurement Scoping and Strategy
RMI helps co-ops and municipal utilities design solar programs that meet members’ needs.

Volume Aggregation
RMI works within a specific geography to aggregate demand for a portfolio of community solar developments.

Predevelopment Support
RMI supports co-ops and municipal utilities in completing important predevelopment tasks, such as site and interconnection screening.

World-Class Competitive Procurement
RMI staff leverages our world-class insight and experience to run competitive RFPs.

PPA Execution and Project Implementation
RMI continues to support co-ops and municipal utilities during negotiation and PPA execution of power purchase agreements (PPAs), and throughout the development and construction process.

WHAT WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED

Innovative low-income solar procurement
RMI issued an RFP with ROCSPOT, which is based in Rochester, New York, for companies to build and finance community solar project on sites in the city. This will be the first community solar project in the U.S. to be located in the community instead of at a remote location; the project is designed to reduce costs, providing access to low- and middle-income households.

Community-scale solar in New Mexico
RMI issued an RFP for 15 MW of community-scale solar in New Mexico, and received prices below $50/MWh, which is on par with the cost of utility-scale solar.

OUR COLLABORATORS

New York Green Bank

Collaborator

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Collaborator

OUR TEAM

Stephen Doig
Managing Director
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Thomas Koch Blank
Principal
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Joseph Goodman
Principal
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Kevin Brehm
Sr. Associate
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Titiaan Palazzi
Sr. Associate
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Kieran Coleman
Sr. Associate
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Todd Zeranski
Program Marketer
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RESOURCES

Insight Brief

Community-Scale Solar: Why Developers and Buyers Should Focus on this High-Potential Market Segment, 2016

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Report

Financing Community-Scale Solar: How the Solar Financing Industry Can Meet $16 Billion in Investment Demand by 2020, 2017

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Blog

Why Rural Electric Cooperatives Are Opting for Community-Scale Solar

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Blog

Community-Scale Solar: Three Reasons to Take Heart

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