Meet the Community Power Accelerator Prize Phase 1 Winners
The Community Power Accelerator Prize recently awarded 25 teams $50,000 and the opportunity to move on to Phase 2 of this prize. In Phase 1, winning teams were recognized as successful new and expanding community solar developers in the early stages of a community solar project development.
Now in Phase 2, competitors will receive direct coaching and mentorship to help them prepare their project to receive financing. All Phase 2 teams are also eligible to win a cash prize of $200,000 for completing the phase requirements.
Read more about the 25 teams moving on to Phase 2.
- 548 Energy Solutions, 548 Energy Solutions: Affordable Power for Chicago (Illinois): This team is developing community solar on existing affordable housing development in Chicago. This will help contribute to Illinois’ solar developmental goals while providing beneficial savings to low-income community members.
- ADL Solutions LLC, Condo to the Farm (Illinois): This team is curating community solar growth in three of Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods—all within the 90th percentile of low income. This will increase household energy savings, contribute to workforce development, and help build long-term wealth within these communities.
- AV3 Energy, Create a Path for Rural Missouri Towns to Go Solar (Missouri): This team is spearheading the first community solar developments in Missouri with strong support from state partners. This will increase statewide education around renewable energy and create opportunities to grow community solar.
- Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Sunward: Building Community Energy Together, (Oregon): This team is expanding their reach and contributing to the diversification of the solar industry, specifically within low-income communities and communities of color. This will develop consistent workforce opportunities and create meaningful household savings.
- Climate Impact Capital Energy Holdings. LLC, Team Impact: Project Renew (Texas): This team is developing community solar in Port Arthur, a refinery town with an evident need for renewable energy. This will provide both financial and environmental aid to a community that experiences frequent power outages and air quality issues, while contributing to workforce development.
- Colorado Farm and Food Alliance, Thistle Whistle Farm + Community Agrivoltaics (Colorado): This team is cultivating an innovative greenhouse and multiple community solar developments on small- to mid-sized farms. These efforts will be a model for community solar in hard-to-reach transitioning economies and help facilitate clean-up of coal-mine waste methane across the county.
- Community Through Colors, Vieques Microgrid (Puerto Rico): This team is providing support and mentorship around community solar within a deeply underserved area of Puerto Rico. This will create improved trust in clean energy initiatives, amplify workforce development, and forge a path for other rural community solar projects.
- Cooperativa Hidroeléctrica de la Montaña, Mastering Microgrids in the Mountain (Puerto Rico): This team is deploying hundreds of microgrids within multiple disadvantaged communities across Puerto Rico. This effort, in addition to establishing community resiliency centers, will provide better access to power in the event of a natural disaster or outage and create meaningful workforce development.
- Energy Allies, Energy Allies Community Led Community Owned Solar (Massachusetts): This team is working with an array of reputable Boston-based entities, including the City of Boston's Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion, to increase community solar development and diversify their current portfolio. This will bring better access to solar for low- to moderate-income households and provide a minimum of 20% savings for income-qualified families.
- Green Energy Justice Cooperative, Inc., Ready! Green Energy Justice Cooperative (Illinois): This team is transitioning a historically successful Minnesota-based community solar model to Illinois. This will reduce energy costs by 30% for their members, creating 150 jobs and continued economic opportunities, as well as increase resiliency through battery storage for grid failures.
- Groundswell Inc, Accelerating Community-Owned Community Power! (Washington, D.C.): This team is developing a scalable model for leveraging the Inflation Reduction Act direct-pay provision for community-owned community solar projects. This will provide greater access to solar in disadvantaged communities while expanding into new areas of support in resiliency.
- Legacy Solar Wisconsin Cooperative, Legacy Solar Co-op (Wisconsin): This team is seeking to bring community solar to a state with little solar development or policies to support its growth. This will increase community education and engagement, and contribute to long-term household savings.
- Mana Pacific Inc, Hawaii's First 100% Community-Owned Solar Projects (Hawaii): This team is planning to scale up to 16.5MWh of battery storage and 30 MW of energy across the islands, as well as evaluate the impact of reducing Hawaii’s greenhouse gas emissions. These initiatives will allow the local community to provide 20% of Moloka’i’s electricity needs.
- North End Woodward Community Coalition, Solar Neighbors-Making the Motor City a Solar City (Michigan): This team is building upon a unique Sustainable Energy Utility model that involves outfitting Detroit-based low- to moderate-income households, nonprofits, and small businesses with rooftop/ground-mounted solar. The profits from these individual systems will then be reinvested into a revolving fund for additional solar installations.
- Oregon Clean Power Cooperative, Oregon Clean Power Cooperative (Oregon): This team is developing 5 community solar projects in rural areas and small towns throughout Oregon. This work, in partnership with Oregon State University, will bring the benefits of community solar to disadvantaged neighborhoods and provide opportunities for additional agrivoltaics research.
- Orleans Parish School Board, Solar Investment for a Sustainable School District (Louisiana): This team is using available land and building space, as well as districtwide support to bring community solar to the New Orleans Public Schools system. This will bring beneficial financial savings to economically disadvantaged families in the district and provide a strong example for other school systems across the United States.
- People United for Sustainable Housing, Community Power Buffalo (New York): This team is leveraging their experience in affordable housing to build more community solar. They are increasing organizational staff capacity, building expertise around project management, and investing in language access for their existing solar projects. This will ensure engagement and participation in future community solar projects within underserved neighborhoods in Buffalo, New York.
- Rare Inc., Boston SHINE: Solar and Workforce Development (Massachusetts): This team is building a robust workforce development program to support trainees to develop rooftop community solar projects within underserved areas of south Boston. This will create significant community savings and establish scalable solar in areas of great need.
- SAGE Development Authority/ Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Renewable Energy Power Authority, Standing Rock Community Solar Project (North Dakota): This team is establishing several 150-kW community solar farms over a 3-year period using in-tribe developers and leadership. This will introduce community solar to underutilized lands in both North Dakota and South Dakota, creating a model for future tribal initiatives across the country.
- Solar United National, LLC, Solar United National Empowers Communities (South Carolina): This team is planning to scale community solar throughout South Carolina and gain a deeper understanding of funding requirements, solar regulations, and utility negotiations. The development of these solar sites, all including a community solar farm and community-owned training building, will increase community savings and access to solar in the Southeast United States.
- Son Solar Inc., Community Solar, Solar Jobs, Equity and Resilience (Mississippi): This team is partnering with established solar developers in the South to create the first community solar system in Mississippi. Their work will forge new pathways to solar for the state and its underserved communities.
- Sovereign Resiliency Partners, LLC, Community Solar for Native American Reservations (Massachusetts): This team is establishing community solar developments on tribal lands within California. With tribal support for site control and development, this will create a strong foundation for community solar within the state.
- SunShare, LLC, New Mexico Expansion (Colorado): This team is expanding community solar across New Mexico and developing strong communication tactics to inform potential users. This will help create transparent expectations around community solar for cities in need of renewable energy, including tribal lands across the state.
- The Resilience Education Training and Innovation Center Limited, RETI Center Local Power NYC (New York): This team seeks to improve urban climate resilience in communities through resiliency-focused economic development, education, and financing initiatives. This will create opportunities for community solar ownership and impactful energy savings of 15-50% for low- to moderate-income households.
- UPROSE, UPROSE x Working Power Community Owned Solar (New York): This team is scaling community solar across 23 identified lots in the underserved, primarily Latino Sunset Park neighborhood. This will provide at least a 15-20% electricity bill discount and engage with property owners in the surrounding area on the reliable benefits of community solar.
We look forward to what these teams will accomplish in Phase 2!