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Community Solar

Food Co-Op Tests New Approach To Equitable Community Solar

A group of energy equity advocates in Boston is launching a community solar cooperative they say could be a scalable model for both reducing carbon emissions and building wealth in disadvantaged communities. The Boston Community Solar Cooperative is in the pre-development stage of an 81 kilowatt solar project on the roof of the Dorchester Food Co-op, in one of the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods. Residents will be able to buy or earn ownership stakes in the project, which will be governed by a board of community stakeholders.

How Cities Are Experimenting With Reparations In Urban Policy

Even as politicians work to reenact Jim Crow-era silences about how white supremacy has shaped America, reparations are on the table as they have never been before. After an upswell of grassroots organizing in 2020, we’re seeing a new level of recognition that descendants of enslaved people, whose labor was stolen, are owed a debt. While that organizing has fueled a collective understanding of the need for repair, progress has been bogged down by the weight of that debt and questions about how such debts can be repaid. These questions have been taken up across the country, from the California Reparations Task Force to the cities of Boston, Evanston, Kansas City, Knoxville and St. Louis, among others.

Minnesota’s Community Solar Program

Minnesota was one of the first states to enable community solar and became an early leader as its program flourished. The original policy, passed in 2013, established a community solar program bound to the state’s largest investor-owned electric utility, Xcel Energy, and was noteworthy for allowing for unlimited development. A 2023 policy (HF 2310) has expanded the program, while also introducing new rules and limitations. Community solar is still only available to customers of Xcel and will be administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Under the new rules, a qualifying community solar garden may have no more than five megawatts of generation capacity, must have at least 25 subscribers per megawatt, and no consumer may subscribe to over 40 percent of a garden’s capacity.

Bridport Goes Solar

A Transition group is exploring a new way to make it cheaper and easier for residents to install solar panels on their roofs. Sustainable Bridport (the new name for Transition Town Bridport) negotiated a discount from a local PV panel installer – if the group facilitated a number of homes to come forward for solar panels at the same time. Sam Wilberforce said the approach allowed them to smooth the way for individual householders, who may not have time or knowledge to research different options. Yet neighbours often live in similar houses and face similar challenges – looking at a whole area can be more efficient.
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