Glossary
Below are definitions for various terms used throughout the website. They are listed in alphabetical order. To navigate please use the letters below or press CTR+F (COMMAND+F on Macs) to search.

Address

City
Comments
Community Energy Type
  • Bulk Purchase Group - individuals form a buying group to achieve a lower installation price for their own individual renewable energy systems; Solarize is a specific type of bulk purchase group and the most common example
  • Electricity Buying Group - a group of people buys renewable electricity from one or more renewable energy generators; Community Choice Aggregation is a specific type of electricity buying group in which a municipality forms a public agency to buy renewable electricity for its constituents, allowing constituents to opt-in or opt-out of the group power purchase. The CCA may select a single renewable electricity supplier or allow customers to choose between a pre-approved set of competitors. The CCA may require an upfront fee to be involved in the group power purchase.
  • Green Planned Housing Development - A residential development that includes renewable energy in its design and implementation. Typically, an external private developer constructs the development and sells individual properties to individual homeowners.
  • Intentional Sustainable Community - A group of people with similar morals, ethics, and/or beliefs choose to live in the same geographic area and agree on a set of guiding principles related to sustainability, including adopting renewable energy
  • Multi-family Residence - renewable energy installed on a building that houses more than one family/tenant; often, these will be public housing developments
  • Municipal - A municipality installs renewable energy on its own property (note: K-12 schools are a separate category and should not be included under this heading)
  • Non-Profit Organization - A community-serving non-profit organization installs renewable energy on its own property (note: K-12 schools, municipal, and university/college are separate categories and should not be included under this heading)
  • School - A K-12 school (public or private) installs renewable energy on its own property; most of these data on existing projects are from the Solar Foundation’s Database of Existing K-12 Schools (Sept. 2014) (http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/solar-schools/)
  • Shared Wind – A group of people share ownership or buy subscriptions to a shared wind farm
  • Solar Farm - A group of people share ownership or buy subscriptions to a shared solar array
  • Solar Friendly Community - communities that go to the effort of making their solar energy permitting system more streamlined (http://solarcommunities.org/recognition-program/)
  • Tribal - Renewable energy installed on property owned by tribal government
  • University/College - Renewable energy installation owned by a university or college
  • Other - A type of community renewable energy not represented by one of the categories listed above. If you select this when adding a new project, please include a description so we can learn from your unique project and possibly create new categories accordingly.
Completion Status
  • Completed - installation is installed and generating electricity (if applicable)
  • In progress - construction/installation has started but is not yet complete
  • Planning - construction/installation has not started yet

Data Source
Date of Data Source

Energy Production (kWh/year)
Energy Type
  • Biomass - organic material that comes from plants and animals; feedstocks may include wood and wood processing wastes, agricultural crops and waste materials, food, yard, and wood waste in garbage, animal manure and human sewage; products may include electricity generated from burning biomass, liquid fuel (i.e., biofuel, ethanol, biodiesel) or gas (i.e., methane) burned for transportation of heat
  • Geothermal - heat from within the earth, which can be recovered as steam or as hot water and can be used to heat buildings or to generate electricity
  • Hydropower - electricity generated from moving surface water (i.e., rivers, streams, lakes); community-scale hydropower typically involves micro (or small-scale) hydropower rather than conventional large-scale, big dam hydropower
  • Solar Photovoltaic - electricity generated from a special non-mechanical device that converts sunlight directly into electricity
  • Solar Thermal - active or passive solar heating systems (i.e. for water or space heat); solar thermal systems can also be used to generate electricity, but not typically at the community scale
  • Tidal Power - electricity generated from the movement of water associated with tides
  • Wave Energy - electricity generated from the movement of water associated with waves
  • Wind - electricity generated from moving air (typically from horizontal-axis turbines)
  • Other - A type of energy not represented by one of the other categories in the list. If you select this when adding a new project, please include a description so we can learn from your unique project and possibly create new categories accordingly.

Financial Model
  • Bulk Purchase Group - see Community Energy Type
  • Electricity Buying Group - see Community Energy Type
  • Electricity Buying Group - Community Choice Aggregation - see Community Energy Type
  • Green Planned Housing Development - see Community Energy Type
  • Intentional Sustainable Community - see Community Energy Type
  • One-Time Funds - installation was paid for through tax revenues, grant, donation, private funds, loan, or some other one-time source of funding
  • One-Time Funds (crowdfunding) - Many individual people/entities contributed to the total installation cost through donations or investments
  • Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) - also known as Third Party Ownership; an arrangement where a third party buys the renewable installation and sells the electricity to a subscriber(s); the third party is typically a corporation, LLC, or other private investor that takes the federal tax credit, while the subscriber(s) is/are people or entities that cannot/don’t want to afford the upfront cost of the system and/or can’t take the federal tax credit (e.g., non-profit organizations, schools, municipalities, individual residential consumers, etc); PPAs vary as to whether the third party or the subscriber(s) host the installation.
  • Shared Ownership - a group of people share ownership of a single renewable energy installation; solar farms and gardens are the most common example of this; shared ownership may be initiated by a group of people interested in owning a renewable energy system together or by a developer that sells shares of an installation they construct to interested parties. This model differs from the PPA in that the “subscribers” actually own certain portions of the array and don’t just buy the electricity from a Third Party owner.
  • Other - A type of financial model not represented by one or more of the pre- defined categories. If you select this when adding a new project, please include a description so we can learn from your unique project and possibly create new categories accordingly.
Funding Source Name
Funding Sources

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction (metric tons CO2 eq per year)

Incentive Amount ($)
Incentive Name
Incentive Type
  • Bond – an interest-bearing certificate of public or private indebtedness (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bond)
  • Donation – money given to the project without interest or obligation
  • Feed-in Tariff – guarantee of payments to renewable energy developers for the electricity they produce; payments may be composed of electricity alone or of electricity bundled with renewable energy certificates; generally awarded as long-term contracts set over a period of 15-20 years. (http://www.nrel.gov/tech_deployment/state_local_governments/basics_tariffs.html)
  • Grant – money award from a grant-funding institution or organization; often requires an application or proposal in response to a request for applications/proposals
  • Rebate – a partial refund of the upfront cost of a renewable energy installation
  • Renewable Energy Credit – tradable certificate representing the environmental attributes of the power produced from a renewable energy project; used to fulfill the requirements of a renewable portfolio standard; have monetary value defined by a competitive market or government policy (http://apps3.eere.energy.gov/greenpower/markets/certificates.shtml)
  • Tax Credit – an amount of money that can be deducted from tax liability
Installed Cost of System ($/Watt)
Installer

Latitude/Longitude

Number of Members
Number of Projects

Organization Address
Organization Alternative Contact Name
Organization City
Organization Contact Email
Organization Contact Name
Organization Contact Phone
Organization Name
Organization Postal/Zip Code
Organization State
Organization Website

Panel Manufacturer
Power Capacity (kW)
Primary Organization
Project Name
Project Host
  • Corporation - A privately-owned, for-profit company
  • Individual residences - individual houses or buildings, usually part of a bulk purchase campaign like Solarize, or a Green Planned Housing Development or Intentional Sustainable Community
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) - a “hybrid type of legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership” (https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/choose-your- business-structure/limited- liability-company)
  • Municipal (town/city) - A town or city government
  • Municipal (county) - A county government
  • Non-profit organization - an entity that uses surplus revenues to further its mission rather than to increase profit for shareholders; typically, a tax-exempt 501c organization
  • Religious Organization – an entity with a religious mission (e.g., church, temple)
  • School (elementary) - Elementary school; typically grades K-6 or fewer
  • School (middle school) - Middle school/junior high; typically grades 6-8 or fewer
  • School (high school) - High school; typically grades 9-12
  • School – School (K-12 or fewer grades); grade level(s) unspecified
  • Tribal - federally recognized native tribes (http://www.ncsl.org/research/state-tribal-institute/list- of-federal- and-state- recognized-tribes.aspx)
  • University/College - institutions of higher education
  • Utility - Private investor-owned company or regulated utility responsible for delivering electricity to customers (may or may not also be in charge of electricity generation, depending on state restructuring laws)
  • Utility (cooperative) - Utility that is owned by the customers it serves
  • Utility (municipal) - Utility that is owned by a municipal government (may serve only part of the municipality or may serve areas beyond the municipality)
  • Other - A type of project host not represented by one of the pre-defined categories. If you select this when adding a new project, please include a description so we can learn from your unique project and possibly create new categories accordingly.

Secondary Organization
Solar PV Technology
  • Mounted-fixed - mounted on the ground, don’t move
  • Mounted-tracking - mounted on the ground, move to track the sun
  • Rooftop - installed on a roof, don’t move
  • Other - A type of solar PV technology not represented by one of the categories listed above. If you select this when adding a new project, please include a description so we can learn from your unique project and possibly create new categories accordingly.
State

Total Installed Cost of System ($)

Website

Year Completed