EnergySage wisely enters community solar

EnergySage is expanding into the community-solar market, which some analysts say could reach 1.8 GW installed by 2020.

The company, long associated with connecting homeowners and pre-screened solar installers, launched its Community Solar Marketplace (CSM) on the same day GTM Research released an analysis saying community solar is competitive with traditional electric providers in most states.

GTM also reported the community solar reached nearly 100 MW between 2010 and 2015 — and shows no signs of slowing down.

Community-solar installations allow people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to get their electricity from solar to do so from centralized installations that sell the electricity to surrounding communities.

“Until now, this fragmented industry was difficult for consumers to navigate and for community-solar providers to acquire customers in,” said Vikram Aggarwal, CEO and founder of EnergySage. “We saw a clear need to streamline the search process between buyers and sellers.”

Despite the ever-increasing ubiquity of solar in many states, consumers don’t always own their roofs, don’t have “solar-ready” roofs or simply can’t afford to install solar despite its rapidly falling prices.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory believes the community-solar market could comprise half of the distributed PV market in 2020, supported in part by programs like the Clean Energy Savings For All initiative and the SunShot Initiative’s Solar In Your Community Challenge. The goals of both programs are to expand solar to low- to moderate-income communities.

Using EnergySage’s new tool, potential community-solar consumers can search for projects in 43 states and the District of Columbia, and those who don’t live in those areas can sign up to be notified of future community solar projects in their area.