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

The work of the 14 Solar Market Pathways projects began in January 2015 and will conclude by the end of 2018. Learn more about the goals and progress of each project, and see the tools and resources they developed along the way.

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Building Resilience with Solar+Storage

When designed and located strategically, solar+storage can improve the reliability and resilience of the energy grid and serve as a lifeline for residents, especially those living in vulnerable areas. This toolkit features resources and real-world examples to help you understand the practical, technical, regulatory, and financial aspects of resilient solar.
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Catalyzing Community Solar

Community solar programs can bring the benefits of solar to people who cannot have their own rooftop array, such as multi-family building tenants or renters. This toolkit provides resources to guide the development of, and investment in, community solar, and to help you navigate relevant policy issues and consumer and community engagement.
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Expanding Engagement and Participation

Across the country, communities and states are working to create more inclusive solar plans and policies that ensure the benefits of solar energy are shared by all. This toolkit offers strategies and case studies on engagement and participation that can support the development of more effective and inclusive solar policies, programs, and strategies.
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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. This toolkit offers resources for those working in nascent solar markets and developing strategies for growth.
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Increasing Higher Education Investment Potential

U.S. colleges and universities are well positioned to invest substantially in solar projects due to their unique combination of power consumption, land ownership, finance capacity, and commitment to education. This toolkit offers resources to help you take advantage of the benefits of solar energy and expand on- and off-campus solar deployment.
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Working with Utilities

Utilities play a crucial role in the acceleration of distributed solar generation, but the way these organizations operate can be complicated to understand and change. The resources in this toolkit provide guidance on engaging with electric utilities to accelerate solar deployment and maximize the value of solar resources.


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.
Developing the path to a more resilient distributed energy system through solar+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.
Working to harmonize policy and foster a thriving regional market.
Creating consumer-tested standardized community solar models for nationwide adoption.
Developing a solar deployment plan for Vermont based on comprehensive, stakeholder informed, scenario modeling.
Creating a comprehensive and ambitious statewide solar deployment strategy.

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 run through the Solar Energy Technologies Office, 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 2015-2018, 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.