The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar American Communities program released a community solar guide late last week. The guide presents detailed information about three project models: utility-sponsored projects, special purpose projects formed for producing community solar power and non-profit sponsored projects.

The guide outlines the legal and financial implications of each model, provides practical tools and tips for planning community solar projects, and outlines best practices. It is intended to provide an outline of hurdles community project organizers might incur. The guide also includes an appendix with information about the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Model Community Renewables Program rules.

The guide was developed by Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development, Keyes and Fox, Stoel Rives, and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. My colleague Janet F. Jacobs and I contributed to the Community Solar Project Models chapter, the Tax Policies and Incentives chapter and the Securities Compliance chapter.

The Guide to Community Solar can be accessed on and downloaded from the Solar America Communities Web site