What Is Shine?
Shine develops innovative distribution-scale solar projects (1–10 MW)—leveraging economies of scale, standardized system design, new business models, and other levers—to make solar energy more affordable and accessible to underserved markets.
Why It Matters
Tens of millions of US 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. Distribution-scale solar can change that and provide affordable access to this clean energy source.
Who Is Involved
The distribution-scale solar market segment is for everyone, especially homes, cities, universities 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 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.
Tool and Resource Creation
RMI develops tools and resources to help entities procure 1—10 MW solar projects and reduce staff time along the way.
RMI works within a specific geography to aggregate demand for a portfolio of community solar developments.
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 execution of power purchase agreements (PPAs) and throughout the development and construction process.
What We’ve Achieved
Through our buyer-support work in New York, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas, the Shine initiative has established itself as a leader in distribution-scale solar and storage procurement. Our successes include:
- Record-low community-scale solar PPA in New Mexico (Otero County 15 MW project @ $45/MWh)
- Innovative value-based request for proposals for co-ops and university in Texas
- Standard-setting battery storage services procurement in Texas
- Low-middle Income focused community solar procurement in Rochester, NY