What Is Community Solar? – LA Progressive

Renewable energy is increasing in popularity as more people strive to discover clean and sustainable resources for powering homes and businesses.

Solar power is a common method for supplying electricity to conscious users. Solar energy is harnessed by installing solar panels and converting the sunlight into electricity. Unfortunately, the costs involved and specific conditions required make this option unavailable for many people.

Growth in the energy industry has produced a more accessible option for accessing solar power through community solar programs.

Learn about community solar to understand the overall process and potential benefits.

What Is Community Solar?

Community solar refers to a group of people sharing electricity generated by converting solar energy. Other names for community solar include shared solar, energy sharing, and solar gardens or farms.

The process for a community solar project begins with a third party installing numerous solar panels in a certain area.

The process for a community solar project begins with a third party installing numerous solar panels in a certain area. Installation and maintenance fees are covered by the solar farm’s owner.

Sunlight is converted into electricity through the solar panels and delivered to the power grid. Electricity produced is then distributed by the local utility company to varying homes and businesses.

Joining a community solar program is as simple as finding a local supplier and subscribing to the service. Depending on the size of the solar farm, hundreds of community members can participate in a single project.

Understand the concept, programs, and billing options associated with community solar to discover the ideal choice for you and your home.

Project Types

Community solar projects are available in a variety of different types. Anyone can own and operate a solar farm with the proper funding, management, and land.

Three primary types of community solar projects exist including:

  • Utility Sponsorship: A utility company invests in building a solar farm to expand its services and offer renewable energy options
  • Special Purpose Entity: A group of individuals create a business enterprise to develop a community solar program
  • Non-Profit Sponsorship: A non-profit organization chooses to establish a shared solar program on behalf of its donors

Each type of community solar project allows individuals or businesses to easily become a member, receive solar power, and reap the financial and environmental benefits.

The Billing Process

Learning the generic billing process for community solar is essential to ensuring access to valuable savings.

As a community solar member, you’ll continue to receive a bill from your utility company. Your electric bill will include a section for solar credits, which indicates the electricity produced through your share of solar panels. Each month your solar credits will be subtracted from your total utility bill to substantially lower your overall charges.

In most cases, you’ll also receive a bill from the community solar service covering your subscription fees or solar share costs. The credits on your electric bill typically cover this bill.

The more electricity you produce, the more solar credits you earn, creating an inexpensive and simple billing process.

Major Advantages of Community Solar

Community solar provides numerous benefits for participants, regarding savings, accessibility, and environmental impact.

Review the apparent advantages to learn how shared solar opportunities can improve your life.

Immense Savings

Community solar subscribers receive immense savings.

A common method for accessing solar power is installing solar panels on the roof. Unfortunately, installation costs for a solar power system can range from $10-15,000, which is impossible for every resident. Community solar offers a cheaper alternative that bypasses the pricey upfront costs for equipment and labor. Most shared solar projects don’t require initial fees and investments, making it an affordable option.

Additionally, solar farm participants earn savings monthly. As previously mentioned, members of community solar projects significantly lower their electric bills through the crediting process. On average, subscribers receive at least a 10% discount on their utility expenses, meaning they can save even more money over time.

Increased Accessibility

Community solar projects are becoming increasingly accessible.

The prominent issue with harnessing solar power through solar panels is that it’s unavailable for many people, specifically if you can’t afford installation costs, your roof isn’t in prime condition, or you’re renting a space. Community solar is an alternative option that meets everyone’s budget and needs.

Shared solar projects continue to grow around the United States with at least one project in 39 of the states and supportive policies in 20 of the states.

As more programs and opportunities arise, research to discover if a solar farm is located in your community. 

Environmental Impact

Community solar positively impacts the environment.

Traditional forms of electricity, specifically fossil fuels, emit carbon dioxide and other harmful gases into the atmosphere, polluting the air and furthering global warming.

Solar power is a clean and sustainable alternative, yet conservative approach, that effectively combats climate change. Community solar projects allow numerous customers to choose a more eco-friendly electricity source to help improve the environment.

Evaluating the environmental impact of solar power and community solar projects is essential to making an informed and beneficial decision.

Electricity is necessary for powering your life and home.

In your effort to become a conscious consumer, it’s important to evaluate your electricity resources. Alternative forms of energy are becoming increasingly popular due to their renewable and environmentally-friendly nature.

Learn about community solar to understand important changes occurring in the energy industry and contemplate making an advantageous change for you, your home, and the environment. 

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Source: https://www.laprogressive.com/what-is-community-solar/

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