Why clean local energy?

Generating renewable energy on a local scale allows communities to leverage private investment to meet sustainability and economic development goals. The result is a cleaner, safer, more resilient energy infrastructure.

Consumers benefit — and so do utilities, cities, and states that embrace clean local energy.

As a 2014 report showed, 1 MW (megawatt) of locally owned solar means as much as $5.7 million in lifetime economic benefits for a community

Local solar also comes online more quickly than large solar plants. The 550 MW Topaz Solar Array, for example, took seven years to develop and construct; during those same seven years, over 8,000 MW of distributed solar were installed in the U.S.


Communities across the country are finding that the development of local, renewable power projects diversifies the energy supply, which insulates consumers from fossil-fuel price spikes and shortages. Diversifying the energy supply also protects communities from blackouts by mitigating the impact of any single power station or power line failing. And by reducing harmful pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the burning of fossil fuels, renewable generation protects communities’ access to clean air and clean water.

Opening the energy market to small-scale generation also creates economic opportunities. No longer are individuals, businesses, and organizations limited to consuming energy — they can generate it, as well. Communities can turn underutilized spaces — like rooftops and parking lots — into energy-generating assets, powered by clean sources like the sun and the wind.

Consumer Toolbox

Municipalities and utilities

“The Clean Coalition was a great partner for providing valuable insight and a national perspective in the evaluation and design of the Long Island Power Authority’s CLEAN Solar Initiative. With their help, LIPA is actively engaged in bringing an additional 50 megawatts of cost-effective renewable energy online.”

 — Michael Deering, VP Environmental Affairs, Long Island Power Authority

Clean local energy projects are helping municipalities and utilities meet local and state renewable-energy and sustainability goals while keeping costs and administrative burdens to a minimum. Proven, cost-effective programs can helo add local renewable capacity, while avoiding the lengthy and expensive process of building new, large, centralized power plants and transmission lines.

Adding local, renewable power can help establish your municipality or utility as forward-thinking and dedicated to helping the communities you serve meet sustainability and economic-development goals. Integrate renewables intelligent grid solutions, and you can mitigate the impact of future blackouts by improving the reliability of your grid. See our work on Community Microgrids to learn more.

The City of Palo Alto Utilities, Long Island Power Authority, and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are just a few of the utilities that have collaborated with us to develop effective CLEAN Programs.

“Thanks to the Clean Coalition’s leadership on Palo Alto CLEAN, the city is now able to bring megawatts of clean local energy online quickly and cost-effectively.”

— Peter Drekmeier, Former Mayor of Palo Alto

Cities across the nation are finding that encouraging clean local energy leverages private investment to spur economic development, build a more resilient grid, and diversify their power supply. Over time, adding renewables to the mix can reduce electric bills for families, businesses, and city governments alike.

Developing clean local energy also offers a cost-effective strategy for cities to meet renewable energy and sustainability goals. And it offers a way to turn underutilized spaces — from rooftops to parking lots to wastewater treatment plants — into productive places generating clean, affordable power.

Since establishing a CLEAN Program in 2009, the city of Gainesville, Florida has grown its solar photovoltaic capacity by 3,500% and created nearly 300 local jobs, while increasing the price of energy by less than 1%. Gainesville, with more than 12 megawatts of installed solar capacity for its 200,000 residents, boasts an installed solar capacity per capita that is more than triple the United States average. To recreate Gainesville’s success in your city, check out the toolbox below.

Utility Toolbox

City Toolbox


From Vermont to California, statewide clean energy programs are unleashing private investment and spurring economic development while ensuring a more secure, resilient, and affordable power supply.

A statewide Clean Local Energy Accessible Now Program offers proven strategies for turning underutilized spaces — from brownfields to rooftops — into productive places generating clean, affordable power.

This is especially important for states that have renewable energy targets or climate-related goals. Developing clean energy on the local scale is a fast and efficient way to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, while boosting renewable energy generation and spurring economic development. These projects can be brought online without costing taxpayers or consumers.  And they avoid the divisive wrangling that so often trips up grand plans for large-scale, centralized power plants.

Adding distributed generation and intelligent grid solutions to your state’s energy portfolio can improve the reliability of the grid, making blackouts less likely. See our Community Microgrids to learn more.

State Toolbox