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We’re finding innovative approaches to accelerate deployment of solar energy in the U.S.

Solar Market Pathways brings together 14 diverse teams from across the country under a single goal: to increase solar energy adoption by reducing the soft costs associated with solar.

Here are some of their innovative approaches:

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Building Resilience with Solar+Storage

Solar energy is proving to be a key strategy in advancing both the long- and short-term goals of community resilience. When it's designed and located strategically, solar+storage can improve the overall reliability and resilience of the energy grid.
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Catalyzing Community Solar

For many potential solar customers, installing a system at their home or business may seem impossible or undesirable. On-site systems tend to be expensive and require access to adequate unshaded space. Community solar programs give customers an alternative to installing solar on their property by enabling them to purchase solar power generated at an offsite solar energy system.
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Expanding Engagement and Participation

Plan and implement a robust stakeholder engagement process as you develop your solar strategy.
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Growing Nascent Markets

While solar markets are booming in some parts of the U.S., other areas face significant barriers to tapping into their solar potential.
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Increasing Higher Education Investment Potential

Colleges and universities hold great solar potential. This toolkit explores some of the deployment frameworks and models developed by Solar Market Pathways awardees and others.
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Working with Utilities

Utilities are critical partners in the acceleration of distributed solar generation. Explore some of the ways these complex organizations operate, and read about strategies others have employed for successful utility collaboration.


The work of the 14 Solar Market Pathways projects began in January 2015 and will conclude in December 2017. The following project pages provide an opportunity for you to understand each project’s goals and its progress, and access the tools and resources they developed along the way.

Expanding the awareness, effectiveness and use of virtual net metering in California and beyond.
Developing solar projects to support neighborhood resilience and create a roadmap for local governments.
Defining the path to a more resilient distributed energy system through solar and energy storage.
Developing CivicPACE as a financing mechanism to enable tax-exempt entities to install solar.
Improving community solar program value through solar+storage, demand response, and other strategies.
Developing replicable pilot projects to unlock the potential of community solar in the Chicago region.
Assisting independent colleges in Virginia to plan for and collaboratively procure solar.
Developing a collaborative utility-administered solar strategy for Virginia.
Advancing Duluth’s nascent solar market by advancing rooftop, community, and commercial solar.
Engaging Midwestern universities and their students in large-scale solar deployment and investment.
Creating the Northeast Solar Coalition to harmonize policy and foster a thriving regional market.
Creating a comprehensive and ambitious statewide solar deployment strategy.
Creating consumer-tested standardized community solar models for nationwide adoption.
Developing a solar deployment plan for Vermont based on comprehensive, stakeholder informed, scenario modeling.

About Solar Market Pathways

Solar Market Pathways (SMP) is an effort funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to drive down the cost of solar energy and accelerate deployment in communities across the United States. The program is part of the larger SunShot Initiative, which seeks to make solar cost competitive, advance grid-integration approaches, increase demand response, and address key market barriers in order to enable greater solar adoption. From 2015-2017, 14 Solar Market Pathways awardees developed strategies to expand solar electricity use for residential, community, and commercial properties. Solar has been the fastest growing source of new electricity in the United States since 2014. The cost of solar has decreased 60% in five years and there are now more jobs in solar energy than in coal. Our challenge is to continue and accelerate this trajectory and to make the cost of solar comparable (or less) than other sources of power by 2020. To do this, Solar Market Pathways creates new approaches, tackling long-standing challenges, creating new partnerships, and targeting key sectors. The tools and strategies developed through the program are invaluable models that can be replicated in communities across the U.S.