Recent announcements show that major institutions are taking more of an interest in the world of community solar.

Community solar projects differ from projects with ordinary power purchase agreements in that customers subscribe on a rolling basis and can also unsubscribe, introducing something akin to vacancy risk in commercial real estate deals.

Proponents contend, however, that this risk is effectively mitigated because community solar offers such a good deal compared with prevailing utility tariffs that there will always be new customers on the waiting list to take over from any that drop out.

Big investors appear to be seeing the light – most recently Credit Suisse, which revealed its debut community solar tax equity investment on November 24 (see story, page 6). Other tax equity investors that have been targeting the sub-sector recently include 1st Source Bank, Advantage Capital Solar Partners and student loan servicer Nelnet (PFR, 6/11, 7/28, 8/31).

Community solar has also attracted interest from the likes of BlackRock, whose Distributed Solar Development affiliate just announced the acquisition of a 17 MW portfolio in New York (see story, page 5), and Clearway Energy Group, which has financed six such portfolios to date (PFR, 8/10).

Not got into the community spirit yet? Don’t worry – it’s not too late! In just the past three months, PFR has reported on assets in the market from developers Delaware River Solar and BW Solar (PFR, 9/25, 11/10).

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