Timeline: 1–3 months
IN THIS LEVEL, YOU WILL ANSWER KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO:
- Learn from other co-ops and your members
- Align on your motivation for the project
- Gain insight into PPA prices in your region
- Use an economic model to estimate the costs and savings over the lifetime of your project
Step 1 Have you learned from other co-ops?
Learning from other cooperatives—particularly co-ops in your region—can help you ask the right questions when you’re getting started. Consider reading national distribution-scale solar case studies, and connecting directly with co-op peers in your region.
CLICK BELOW to read about sample projects.
Step 2 Do you understand member needs?
According to a 2015 Touchstone Energy survey, 80 percent of co-op members say they want renewable energy and are willing to pay a premium for it. Members are motivated to pursue solar for economic and environmental reasons. Consider surveying your members to learn more about their views on solar in your community.
Step 3 Have you aligned on project motivation and options?
Staff and leadership should align on the primary motivations for the project. It is important to consider:
- Why are you interested in carrying out a solar project? (e.g., economic savings, demand charge reduction, environmental or local community benefit, member interest, etc.)
- The answer to this question will directly inform:
- Which ownership structure most meets your needs?
- What is most important to you when selecting project partners (developers and intermediaries)?
Step 4 Have you looked into PPA prices in your region?
Looking into PPA prices in your region will help you know what to expect for your future project. You may do this by contacting other buyers that have completed solar projects recently.
Step 5 Have you estimated net savings/costs?
Estimate the potential costs and savings of your project by using an economic model. This model can be edited and tailored to accurately reflect conditions in your service territory.
CLICK BELOW to access the Distribution Solar Economic Model.*
* Instructions for utilizing this tool are listed when clicking on the link.