Community Solar

December 14, 2016 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
3333 Coyote Hill Rd
Palo Alto, CA 94304


Aaron Clay

CEO, Sunswarm Solar


SB 43, signed into law by Governor Brown in 2013, brought the expectation of “community solar” to California.  The goal for SB 43 was to “[Build] operational generating facilities that utilize sources of renewable energy within California, to supply the state’s demand for electricity, [and] provide significant financial, health, environmental, and workforce benefits to the State of California.”  According to the legislative summary, the program requires no state subsidies, has no cost to non-participating ratepayers, and is set up to deliver cost savings to participants over time as electric rates rise and solar costs drop.  It was expected to create over 6,000 new jobs and $2.2 billion in economic activity over the next several years. After almost 4 years, the CPUC regulatory rules for community shared solar are just now being finalized.  We examine the regulatory policies and rules that the California Public Utilities Commission has proposed and consider how the proposed rules will encourage or discourage the goals of community solar development for all ratepayers in California.


Aaron Clay is CEO of Sunswarm Solar, an online community solar marketplace that provides software tools for renewable energy developers to develop community scale renewable energy projects and connect consumers with local solar projects.

He is also a member of the California Energy Commission Working Group developing opportunities and funding for clean energy jobs and economic opportunities for disadvantaged communities; a Director at Solar-Oversight, a nonprofit organization that structures transactional financing to deliver sustainable energy solutions for nonprofit organizations; and an advisor for Solar Richmond, a nonprofit organization helping to promote energy training and business opportunities for low income residents.

He has 15 years of experience in real estate law, solar energy policy and sustainable energy development.  He has a BA in Political Science from Morehouse College and a JD degree from Loyola University Chicago Law School.  He has Graduate Certificates in Energy Innovation and Emerging Technology from Stanford University, and Advanced Energy Law from UC Berkeley Law School.