Posted 12/28/15 in Articles
Generating solar power with rooftop photovoltaic panels is increasingly popular among homeowners.
But not all homeowners or renters are able to add solar to their residence. According to ClearPath.org only 22% of US homes are at present capable of adding meaningful solar energy resources to their property. That leaves a large number of people who are unable to join the solar power revolution for a number of reasons: they rent, they own as part of a multi-family dwelling, their residence is blanketed in too much shade, their roof is too old, their home isn't oriented properly, or any combination of these.
Community solar projects, or solar gardens, are a growing way for people to participate in the renewable energy movement. With community solar, individuals lease or purchase either specific panels or they have a portion of shares of the entire array. If you own specific panels then if they need maintenance or repair it is your responsibility. If you own shares, then you pay a fee to help provide maintenance. The community solar projects are owned by communities, cooperatives, for-profit companies and non-profit organizations. And, although the panels do not directly power their home, the energy collected is fed into the grid to offset members’ usage. In this scenario, the community solar garden can be miles away from a home of the user. The garden location can be filled with panels and oriented to make optimum use of the sun's rays.
According to a report from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), utility-involved community solar is a business model that is beneficial to utilities. Community solar helps improve a utility’s relationships with customers and gives the utility more control over new distributed generation projects.