The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar

Community Solar

  1. Community Solar
  1. The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar
American-Made Challenges Sunny Awards

The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar (The Sunny Awards) is a $100,000 prize competition that recognizes community solar projects and programs that employ or develop best practices to increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities.

Community solar is any solar project or purchasing program in which the benefits of a solar project flow to multiple customers such as individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and other groups, within a certain geographic area. Community solar projects and programs can vary significantly in their structure, implementation, and benefits they provide. The best practices of the projects and programs recognized by the Sunny Awards will provide a blueprint for community solar developers, state energy offices, utilities, and others to help achieve the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) target to power the equivalent of five million households with community solar by 2025, generating $1 billion in electricity bill savings.

Announced on July 27, 2022, by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), the Sunnys offer up to five $10,000 Sunny Awards Grand Prizes to the top teams and up to 50 additional $1,000 Sunny Finalist Awards to competitors that find effective ways to equitably deliver the specific, meaningful benefits of community solar identified by NCSP. The finalists were announced on November 9, 2022.


To apply, community solar projects and programs must be able to prove that they are providing meaningful benefits in at least one of the following primary Meaningful Benefit categories:

  • Greater Households Savings
  • Low- to moderate-income (LMI) Household Access
  • Resilience and Grid Benefits
  • Community Ownership
  • Equitable Workforce Development

Meaningful Benefit Category Special Recognition will be given to the top three competitors in each of the primary Meaningful Benefit categories above, as well as in two innovation categories:

  • Innovation Category: Community Engagement
  • Innovation Category: Impact

Teams will nominate either a community solar project (individual community solar installations) or program (state, district, territory, or utility-run initiatives that enable, incentivize, or otherwise support the development of multiple community solar projects within a specific jurisdiction) by submitting a narrative application and a set of appropriate, complete, and verifiable supporting evidence.

Award Stages


Up to 50 competitors will be selected as Sunny Finalist Award winners by DOE reviewers and will receive a cash prize of $1,000. These competitors will advance in the prize challenge.


A panel of external reviewers, using a pre-determined and publicly available set of scoring guidance, will select winners for two types of Grand Prize awards:

Sunny Grand Prize Award Winners: 

  • All Finalists that meet eligibility requirements across 2 or more meaningful benefit award categories will compete for a Sunny Grand Prize Award for Equitable Community Solar.
  • Up to five projects or programs that demonstrate significant achievement in delivering meaningful benefits across multiple categories will be selected as Sunny Grand Prize Award winners and will be eligible to receive $10,000 in prize money.

Meaningful Benefit Category Special Recognition:

  • DOE will also present non-monetary awards to recognize up to three programs or projects in each of the meaningful benefits categories, including the two innovation categories.

Winners of both the Sunny Grand Prize Awards and Meaningful Benefit Special Recognition Awards will be publicly announced by DOE and will be invited to participate in a series of DOE-hosted webinars and events on community solar best practices. Winners’ best practices will also be used to develop a collection of case studies to encourage greater adoption of these practices.  


1 Catherine Street Community Solar
Solar Landscape LLC, Teterboro, NJ

Boston Properties – CityPoint – 500 Totten Pond
Sunwealth Power LLC, Waltham, MA

Citizens Imperial Solar
Citizens Energy Corporation, Calipatria, CA

Common Energy
Common Energy, New York, NY

Community Power
Solar One, Brooklyn, NY

Community Solar Clearinghouse Solution Program
Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Chicago, IL

Dividends Return Commons Model
People Power Solar Cooperative, Oakland, CA

Dunbar Solar Commons
Solar Commons, Tucson, AZ

Faribault Community Solar
Cooperative Energy Futures, Faribault, MN

Haven Community Solar Project
Cooperative Energy Futures, Saint Cloud, MN

Heart Butte Community Solar
Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Heart Butte, MT

Hummingbird Community Solar Project
Olympia Community Solar, Olympia, WA

Illinois Guaranteed Savings Program
Clearway Community Solar, Illinois

Illinois Solar for All
Illinois Power Agency, Champaign, IL

JOE-4-SUN Low-Income Community Shared Solar: Ashland Solar Project
Citizens Energy Corporation, Ashland, MA

JOE-4-SUN Low-Income Community Shared Solar: Falmouth Solar Project
Citizens Energy Corporation, Falmouth, MA

Longview Garage Canopy for City of White Plains
DSD Renewables, White Plains, NY

National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima
Sunwealth Power LLC, Franklin, NJ

New Hampshire Solar Shares
Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative, Plymouth, NH

New York City Housing Authority Solar Portfolio
Sunwealth Power LLC, New York, NY

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Community Solar
Oregon Clean Power Cooperative, Talent, OR

Santa Rosa Community Solar Project
GRID Alternatives, Idyllwild, CA

SharePower Community Solar Project at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Groundswell Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Shiloh Temple Community Solar
Cooperative Energy Futures, Minneapolis, MN

Shungnak-Kobuk Solar Battery Independent Power Producer
Northwest Arctic Borough, Shungnak, AK

Solar for All
Department of Energy and Environment, Washington, DC

Temple Emunah Community Shared Solar
Resonant Energy, Lexington, MA

Tuckahoe Housing Authority
UGE International, Tuckahoe, NY

Urbana Solar
Nexamp, Urbana, IL

Vieques Microgrid
Community Through Colors, Vieques Municipality, PR

White Marsh Community Solar Farm
Nautilus Solar Energy LLC, Kingsville, MD