SunShot Initiative - Solar Market Pathways


CSE led the Virtual Net Metering Market Development Project to advance solar adoption across the nation. CSE focused on the challenge of increasing rooftop solar photovoltaic installations on multitenant buildings and multifamily housing in California and beyond by taking advantage of favorable utility pricing structures.

The project focused on expanding the awareness and use of California’s state-mandated virtual net energy metering (NEM-V) tariff, which provides a special utility billing arrangement allowing energy generation credits from a single solar system to be shared virtually among multiple tenant accounts. CSE’s findings are valuable not only for existing community and shared solar programs throughout the country, but also to emerging markets seeking to develop a successful shared solar program in the future.

The Virtual Net Metering Market Development Project was one of 15 Solar Market Pathways projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative aimed at advancing the nation’s adoption of solar power.


Solar Market Pathways Impacts

Santa Monica pilot study

Working with the city of Santa Monica, CSE facilitated targeted outreach to multifamily property owners and solar contractors to improve their understanding of virtual net metering and gain insight into barriers associated with NEM-V projects in the Southern California Edison service territory. Learn about the San Monica solar landscape.

Statewide education & outreach to stimulate workforce
Seven trainings and workshops on developing virtual net metering projects in the multifamily sector were presented to 120 contractors and building owners and managers across the state.
Toolkits to guide projects

Step-by-step guides and supporting worksheets were developed for apartment and condominium property owners and operators. Contractors can also access utility tariffs, interconnection resources, and outreach tools to reach potential customers.

Nationwide distribution of findings

Case studies and lessons learned will provide models and actions that can be replicated in any region - an important step toward making solar deployment faster, easier and cheaper.

Program at a Glance

Program Goals

Create awareness of virtual net metering and increase solar adoption at multitenant properties

CSE's Role

Facilitate market research, disseminate findings and provide recommendations for tariff modifications and application guidelines


Distributed Energy Resources

Key Partners

Department of Energy, California Solar Energy Industries Association, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, City of Santa Monica Office of Sustainability

Impact Statement

Spur solar adoption for multimetered, multitenant properties in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs