A community solar might be for you. According to a 2018 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, less than 30 percent of residential homes are suitable for a rooftop solar system. Much of the reason for this has to do with structural issues related to the homes – some roofs are easier than others to install solar on – shading – without adequate sunlight a rooftop solar system is not cost efficient – and ownership – renters may want a solar system while owners may not.
However, this is also why 2018 saw astronomical growth of community solar systems with some 1,294 megawatts of community solar installed in the third quarter of 2018 alone.
Community solar essentially expands solar access to all by providing homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the physical attributes or ownership of their home or business. And this also includes those usually overlooked – the low-to-moderate income customers most impacted by a lack of access.
By sharing in a community subscribers can receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. As well as, help support a more resilient grid.
With 42 states with at least one community solar project on-line, and a projected addition of 3 gigawatts in the next few years it is a model that is rapidly adopted.
The Coyote Ridge Solar Farm in Fort Collins, Colorado is just one example. Designed to be the largest low-income community solar project in the U.S. it is expected to produce 1.95 MW.
There are many ways that customers (or “subscribers”) may participate and receive benefits from a community solar system. Here are a few:
- Utility-Sponsored Model, in which a utility owns or operates a project that is open to voluntary ratepayer participation.
- Special Purpose Entity (SPE) Model, in which individual investors join in a business enterprise to develop a community solar project.
- Non-Profit “Buy a Brick” Model, in which donors contribute to a community installation owned by a charitable non-profit corporation.
So if community solar interests you, check out the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website for list of community solar projects near you. Also catch all the latest details on community solar, current regulations and legislation on net metering, and effective tax credits.
You might just find that participating in solar energy is easier than you thought.
This article about community solar is brought to you by Blue Sky Solar and Roofing, a solar power and roofing restoration company with offices in Dallas, Texas, and Aurora, Colorado. Blue Sky specializes in sustainable roofing options, solar power systems, and excellent customer service.