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Background

While solar markets are booming in some parts of the U.S., there are still many places with minimal solar. In these nascent markets, there are often many barriers to solar—including fewer financing options and less accessible information for potential customers—which can significantly increase solar costs. In some places, certain aspects of the solar market may be mature, while other market segments may still be nascent.

Through Solar Market Pathways, projects worked to:

  • Reveal key market barriers and opportunities.
  • Explore key market segments or demonstrate the potential for new project types through groundbreaking pilot projects.
  • Remove market barriers, reduce costs, grow demand, and build the solar workforce.
  • Bring together stakeholders to create a shared vision for a vibrant solar market.

Toolkit

This toolkit is under development—please check back soon to view new resources.

The process of developing a nascent market is iterative. It involves building stakeholder support, developing a nuanced understanding of barriers, and implementing strategies to remove or address those barriers. Success requires operating at multiple scales to affect change and catalyze sustainable market growth. The resources below are intended to help policymakers, advocates, and others who are working in nascent solar markets and seeking to develop strategies for growth.

Market Assessment Tools and Approaches

There are many actions that communities can take to strengthen and grow their solar markets. Most communities, however, are limited by time and resources, requiring them to take a targeted approach. Conducting an assessment and analysis of the current market is a crucial first step to prioritize strategies and begin engaging with stakeholders to create a shared understanding of the market conditions, barriers, and opportunities. For more resources on stakeholder engagement, visit our Expanding Participation and Engagement Innovation.

Resources

Tool:
SolSmart Program Guide SolSmart Program Guide
Author:  The Solar Foundation

A guide to the SolSmart program which offers support to communities as they work to grow their solar market.

Tool:
SolSmart Application SolSmart Application
Author:  The Solar Foundation

The application to the SolSmart program provides a checklist that communities can use to take stock of the local actions they are taking to strengthen their solar market.

Report:
Local Energy Matters: Baseline Solar Market Analysis for Duluth, ... Local Energy Matters: Baseline Solar Market Analysis for Duluth, MN
Author:  Ecolibrium3

Duluth’s baseline analysis of installed solar capacity by sector, installed cost, financing, and barriers intended to identify best areas of future focus for advancing the local market.

Report:
Local Energy Matters: Solar Market Landscape Report Local Energy Matters: Solar Market Landscape Report
Author:  Ecolibrium3

A report examining the local solar market including installer availability and quality, financing, development process, hardware, code/policy, solar mapping, and cost.

 
Report:
Community Solar Opportunity Assessment for Cook County Community Solar Opportunity Assessment for Cook County
Author:  Cook County

This analysis quantifies the shared solar market potential by site, characteristics or type, subscriber type, and ownership model in the county.

 
Report:
Community Solar Best Practices Analysis Community Solar Best Practices Analysis
Author:  Cook County

The study identifies model programs and national best practices in Community Solar and provides a baseline framework for policy positions to accelerate community solar in Cook County.

Market Development Strategies

Based on a strong analysis and understanding of the market and the input of stakeholders, the next steps are to identify and implement market development strategies.

In Utah, the Salt Lake City Corporation sought to identify a set of strategies that would accelerate the statewide solar market. This work was summarized in a 10-year solar deployment plan that reviews market conditions and establishes a set of goals and corresponding strategies.

For projects on a particular market segment, strategies may be more focused. The Center for Sustainable Energy—focused on jump-starting the multifamily housing sector in California—created a targeted toolkit with resources for the owners and managers of multifamily properties.

Resources

Tool:
Multifamily Solar Market Development Plan Multifamily Solar Market Development Plan
Author:  CSE

This plan is intended to help policymakers, regulators, local governments, multifamily stakeholders and others in CA and beyond to expand multifamily solar in their jurisdictions.

Tool:
A Bright Future: A 10 Year Solar Deployment Plan for Utah A Bright Future: A 10 Year Solar Deployment Plan for Utah
Author:  Utah Clean Energy

A plan to grow Utah’s solar market focused on five key areas: Solar Markets & Access, Permitting, Interconnection, Utility Regulatory Models and Solar, Storage, and Resiliency.