Community solar gardens are growing in popularity across the US. The concept makes it possible for everyone, including renters, homeowners with shaded house roofs, and even residents, who cannot afford solar panels, to take advantage of solar.
About two years ago when we first told you about community solar gardens, these were only seen in Colorado, the birthplace of the concept. Due to their incredible popularity, however, they sold out extremely quickly and only a lucky few could take advantage of them. Nevertheless, the potential of such incredible service was noticeable already then, and there were absolutely no signs that there is a possibility of failure.
In fact, it actually grew bigger and spread way outside Colorado’s borders in a space of just a few years. Minnesota, California, Massachusetts and several other states are no longer strangers to the concept of shared solar, and the predictions are that this year the capacity will grow even further, thanks to the support of both residents and large companies.
A quick reminder of what community solar gardens , also known as shared solar, or community solar, are all about. A massive solar array is constructed at a location with perfect conditions for solar energy generation, and the energy is fed to the local grid. Members of the community subscribe to the service and receive credit, which is then deducted from their utility bills.
The biggest advantage of such system is that everyone has the opportunity to be involved and have their share of renewable energy. Unlike rooftop solar, homeowners do not have to have a sunny roof, in fact, the users do not even have to own a house. What is more, communal solar allows people with lower income, who cannot afford to purchase solar panels, to be able to take part as well.
In Minnesota, large companies are taking advantage too. A great example is the company Ecolab Inc, the first large customer of the service, which is going to power their headquarters almost entirely using electricity from the communal solar garden. In California, new regulations on solar power actually oblige utility companies to contract solar power. Thanks to these, California might soon be the host of the largest solar share, where up to 50,000 customers can take full advantage.
This is a great opportunity for everyone to have their share in renewable energy generation, and even they can go 100% solar if they want to, without having to physically install panels on the roofs of their houses and hope for sunshine. The concept is brilliant, and hopefully it will become mainstream everywhere soon.
Image (c) AP