The State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) will judge 172 teams from across the US competing in the Solar in Your Community Challenge for a total of $5 million in prizes. The teams have proposed a total of 300 megawatts of shovel-ready community solar projects for underserved communities, the merits of which will be evaluated on the best demonstration of innovative and tangible business models over 18 months.
Each team is developing a community-based solar project up to 5-megawatts in size, that will serve either a minimum of 20 percent of low- to moderate-income households or 60 percent non-profits in their communities. Teams that demonstrate the most innovative, replicable and sustainable business models are eligible for $1 million in final prizes, including a $500,000 grand prize. The top 35 teams will receive up to $60,000 in seed money to fund their projects and others will receive $10,000 in technical assistance vouchers.
“The teams that were selected to take part in this potentially game-changing initiative are on the cutting-edge, offering novel ideas and finding new approaches that can lead to exciting solar market growth,” said Michael Fancher, SUNY Poly executive director and New York State Center for Advanced Technology. “SUNY Poly is proud to announce these winners whose work can meaningfully contribute to a more sustainable future in New York State and across the United States as we encourage world leadership in clean energy solutions.”
The aim of the competition, supported by the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, is to provide access to affordable solar for low to moderate-income households, rural communities, nonprofits and American Indian Reservations. Teams were selected by a panel of experts based on their project’s potential impact on local economies and job growth in communities where solar development has yet to take place. Teams will also be evaluated for which produces the most useful outreach activities to support local solar projects.
The recently announced teams competing include 40 states, Washington DC and 4 American Indian Reservations and join the 48 teams selected to compete earlier this year. Each has a approaching expanding solar access in ways specific to the needs of their community.
For instance, members of the Sierra Solar Farm team in Mariposa, CA, will provide its 2,200 residents with affordable solar by lowering administration fees and offering small price increments that represent fractions of a solar panel. The program will also award school-age youth with shares in the solar farm to reinforce the value of community and individual energy independence.Tweet