What Is Community Solar?
The US Department of Energy defines community solar as follows: local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced.
The essence of community solar is the people it supports. With community solar farms, everyone can support the renewable energy movement and benefit financially from the expansion of solar power.
Qualifying for Community Solar
While community solar is open to everyone, not everyone is eligible to become a subscriber. Solar farms have minimum requirements that must be met before someone can subscribe to them for solar credits. We can help you determine whether you meet these requirements and find the best solution to meet your needs.
How Community Solar Works
You’ve probably seen a solar farm alongside the interstate or other roadway. The developers of these farms have choices on who gets the energy generated. The options include selling it to the utility, a single large corporation, or local residents and businesses through a subscription model. The latter is how community solar works. People subscribe to a farm and receive solar credits on their utility bill. Subscribers then pay the owner of the community solar farm a discounted rate for the credits. The total of the two electric bills is less than a standard utility bill without the solar credits.
Many people wonder how the power from the solar gets to their home. The answer is it doesn’t. The power is added to power grid but not sent directly to a subscriber’s home. The utility company tracks the amount of power provided by the solar farm to calculate the solar credits issued. The only caveat is that the solar farm has to be located in the same utility zone as your property.
Community solar allows business owners and residential customers to financially benefit from solar facilities developed and funded by others. Qualified applicants become exclusive members without making any upfront investment.
Did you know?
- In most cases community solar represents the only option for people to participate in solar energy. That because for various reasons (i.e the roof needs to be repaired or replaced, there are shading issues, the roof is simply facing in the wrong direction).
- Most buildings can’t host a solar system.
- 43 states have community solar projects and as of 2018, together these projects totaled 1.3 gigawatts of power generation
- Over the next three years it is expected that the U.S. community solar market will grow by another 3 gigawatts – that enough energy to power almost a half million homes
The Future of Community Solar
The concern over ensuring a clean environment grows every day. Regardless of your stance on climate change, looking at ways to lower pollution is common sense for our society.
According to studies conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, solar energy will soon be able to generate power on a multi-terawatt scale. Solar farms are anticipated to become a source of clean, affordable power worldwide. Private solar installations will continue to be a viable option for many, but for the average energy, user community solar is the only option. The increase in demand for community solar will invariably result in further innovation, lower costs, and a healthier environment for our children and our children’s children. Renewable energy is one way to accomplish that objective.
The Supply of Community Solar Subscriptions is Limited
If you’re interested in participating in community solar, you shouldn’t assume that you will be able to subscribe at any time. The supply of community solar power is not infinite. When solar farms are built and go live, subscriptions become available. The demand for community solar is so great that subscribers may find themselves put on waiting lists if they don’t act quickly.