Community Renewables

Project Summary

Solar energy is central to alleviating the impact of fossil fuels on Southern California's climate and spurring L.A. to a more sustainable future, but traditional solar distribution models leave 70 percent of households unable to access solar because home renters don't have access to their rooftop for solar installation. This report analyzes the current state of solar distribution systems to inform policy that will make solar accessible and attractive to home renters and utility companies. Newer systems of energy distribution, such as community renewables, overcome the limitations of traditional systems and will expand solar renewables in Los Angeles. This study synthesizes interviews and reports from actors in the solar supply chain to show the potential of community renewables and current challenges to implementing them. 

Research Team

Akhil Modi
Management, Anderson School of Management

Advisor: Charles Corbett
Operations Management & Sustainability, Anderson School of Management

Progress and Results

The results show that current policy does not encourage buy-in from the different stakeholders. The study outlines key policy changes that align incentives. These include changing policy to align financial costs and benefits between stakeholders, increasing awareness of community solar to increase demand and drive policy, ultimately lowering the cost of customer acquisition, and making the process and requirements for starting a project easier to achieve. In sunny Los Angeles, solar energy is an ideal community renewables solution, as it offsets fossil fuel emissions and energy costs, providing areas with better environmental well-being and consumers with lower energy bills. To make these benefits a reality, back-end software and systems must be improved to facilitate the exchange of power between many parties. This report provides critical insight into the path towards 100% renewable energy. With a greater understanding of the interaction of markets, policy, incentives, and results, policy makers and system developers can eliminate barriers and extend the reach of community renewables. 

Other Information of Interest

Project photo showing solar panels on a rooftop

Category

Award Year

2017