MSN receives award from US Dept. of Energy to bring more solar to our region

The Monadnock Sustainability Network (MSN) announced that it was selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative’s Solar in Your Community Challenge, a $5 million prize competition that aims to expand solar electricity access.  As an accepted participant of this national solar competition, MSN will receive a $10,000 award to improve access to solar for municipalities, nonprofits and low & moderate income households in the Monadnock region.

Over the next 18 months, MSN in collaboration with a number of local organizations plans to develop more Community Supported Solar (CSS) projects based on the model pioneered at the Monadnock Food Co-op (Co-op). This approach retains tax, investment, energy and labor dollars in the community while providing access to solar for those who often lack access.

“We are thrilled that our team was selected to join the challenge,” said John Kondos of MSN. “After over two years of hard work we figured out how to develop a locally owned and controlled solar project for those who were unable to go solar. Now we plan to build on that.”

MSN will join hundreds of other teams from around the country in pursuit of solar projects and programs that expand solar access to low- and moderate-income households and nonprofit organizations. All teams will compete for $1 million in final prizes, which will be awarded by judges based on each project or program’s innovation, impact, and replicability.

MSN’s approach relies on a locally owned LLC that develops and owns the project and sells electricity to the host (Co-op) via a Power Purchase Agreement. The LLC expects to sell the PV system to the Co-op within ten years. Based on this we have published the NH Community Supported Solar (NH CSS) Guide for others to use.

This initiative is ready to put solar systems on underserved properties in the Monadnock region. There are three types of participants in a CSS project that we’re looking for:

  • The host is the owner of the property on which the PV system is located, which may be a public (such as a municipality) or private entity.
  • The Champions make each CSS project happen. The project needs a team who want to see the host get a CSS system. They need an entrepreneurial spirit since they will be setting up a small business to own and operate the PV system with the intent to sell the system to the host. A champion doesn’t have to be investor owner though an investor should become part of the project team. MSN provides guidance and support to keep a team on track for a successful project.
  • The investors are local folks who meet the criteria of being accredited investors with passive income who want to put their money to work locally. They will form an LLC to own the project, sell electricity to the host and eventually the PV system.

Locally owned community supported solar expands access to clean solar electricity. Find out how we can increase our energy independence and resilience; reduce our carbon footprint while boosting the financial strength of our communities.