investment viewpoints

Community solar: unlocking access to clean energy in the US

Community solar: unlocking access to clean energy in the US
Peter Pulkkinen - Portfolio Manager

Peter Pulkkinen

Portfolio Manager
Rhys Marsh - Portfolio Manager

Rhys Marsh

Portfolio Manager
Adriana Becerra Cid - Sustainability Manager

Adriana Becerra Cid

Sustainability Manager
Gene Getman - Business Manager

Gene Getman

Business Manager

We believe community solar projects are vital to expand the US renewable energy system while supporting inclusive access to clean energy and managing unintended impacts of renewables on vital ecosystems. This represents a potentially impactful and attractive opportunity for private markets investors, in our view.

Need to know

  • Between now and 2050 we will move from 20% economy-wide electrification to 70%, driving demand for renewably-generated electricity
  • With almost 80% of US residents lacking an ability to access solar directly, solutions like community solar will be key for democratising access
  • Community solar is the fastest growing segment of US solar industry, anticipated to continue its nearly 7x growth over the past 5 years
  • Private lenders can provide tailored liquidity required to help innovative models like community solar achieve greater scale and impact

Sustainable development

Community solar may be a more sustainable solution when compared to utility-scale solar. As science increasingly recognises the scale of ecosystem services provided by mature biomes – including active carbon sequestration and massive stored carbon reserves even in seemingly inhospitable places such as scrubland and deserts – the potential drawbacks to permanent disruption across hundreds or thousands of acres are magnified. 

While utility-scale development will continue to be play a role in global decarbonisation, selecting contiguous sites extending for hundreds or thousands of acres while avoiding externalities is challenging.  Community solar facilities tend to be less than 20 acres in size, allowing for more careful site selection with smaller-scale impact. We seek to work with companies intensely focused on understanding and mitigating ecosystem impacts of their development – and, where possible, enhancing previously disturbed land with concepts such as agrovoltaics.

Cumulative installed community solar capacity (in MWdc as of Q1 2023)

Community solar_Fig 5.svg


1 Source: SEIA/Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables U.S. Solar Market Insight Q2 2023. Anticipated growth based on National Community Solar Partnership w/ U.S. Department of Energy projections. 



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We believe investors looking to access the growth in community solar stand to find unrivalled opportunities via private markets. A focused private credit approach can provide the efficient, flexible capital needed to scale this important market. 

important information.

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