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Although photo voltaic power has skyrocketed in recognition in recent times, many individuals aren’t within the place to put in a rooftop photo voltaic system. Renters, condominium dwellers, condominium house owners, low-income households, and other people with shaded roofs are largely disregarded of the photo voltaic revolution.
Enter group photo voltaic farms. This ownership structure is making solar energy obtainable to households, companies, and organizations that couldn’t entry it earlier than. It is a quickly rising section of the renewable power market, particularly in sure states. There are presently 4.9 gigawatts of installed capacity within the United States, or sufficient to energy about 3.7 million houses.
What Is Community Solar?
Community photo voltaic initiatives give subscribers most of the identical advantages of solar energy with out having a system on-site. They produce electrical energy for a whole lot and even 1000’s of close by houses and small companies. Households and firms can be a part of a group photo voltaic farm by subscribing to a portion of the venture’s month-to-month output.
The solar energy produced from the group photo voltaic venture is usually discounted in comparison with typical utility firm electrical energy charges. Consequently, subscribers can usually decrease their electrical energy payments whereas additionally serving to the planet. Although the main points differ by photo voltaic venture, many require no upfront funding and supply flexibility in case you transfer throughout the identical electrical utility territory.
How Does Membership Work?
To be a part of a group photo voltaic farm, you signal a contract for a share of the power produced or a certain quantity of capability. You’ll conform to pay a chosen quantity per kilowatt hour for photo voltaic power, which is normally 5% to fifteen% lower than the usual utility fee from the facility firm.
You’ll proceed to obtain electrical energy payments from the facility firm. However, you’ll see a brand new part on the invoice along with your group photo voltaic power credit to your share of the photo voltaic venture’s electrical energy output, lowering your energy invoice.
You’ll additionally obtain a second month-to-month assertion to your group photo voltaic subscription, however the two payments mixed are normally lower than the facility invoice would have been with out the group photo voltaic subscription. Like a cable subscription, you possibly can cancel the membership at any time with superior discover.
Who Owns Community Solar Farms?
A 3rd occasion owns most group photo voltaic initiatives and can be answerable for the upkeep and maintenance of the photo voltaic gear. Participants pay an administrator for the photo voltaic electrical energy they devour, and the photo voltaic farm proprietor, not the members, is eligible for any solar incentives, such because the photo voltaic tax credit score.
How Can I Join a Community Solar Farm
Where you reside will largely dictate your choices for changing into a member. Although group photo voltaic just isn’t new, presently, only 22 states have passed the necessary legislation to make this possession construction doable. Some states, akin to Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York, seemingly have initiatives you possibly can be a part of, whereas different states lack the required insurance policies. Several states have just lately handed supportive laws, nevertheless it takes a number of years to finalize the principles and assemble the primary photo voltaic farms.
Want to affix a group photo voltaic farm in your space? Find out about projects close to you.
Originally printed on April 10, 2018, this text was up to date by Sarah Lozanova in August 2022.