As much as many of us would love to have solar panels on our roofs, not everyone can do it. Maybe because of the roof or tree shading, or maybe your home is in a neighborhood that doesn’t allow it.
Another reason is that solar panels can be expensive. So while they’re an excellent investment, the upfront cost can deter some people.
But what if there was a way to go solar without requiring you to install solar panels? Something that’s affordable and doesn’t require any changes to your roof or property? Enter the community solar.
Community solar projects are centralized, large solar power plants. And the electricity is shared by community members who subscribe to the project. So while the size of a roof solar panel installation is gauged in kilowatts, a community solar project is measured in megawatts.
That means that one solar farm can power thousands of households. In addition, community solar projects offer a way for people to get involved in renewable energy, even if they don’t have a sunny rooftop.
And because you don’t need to have a suitable rooftop to join in community solar projects, it is perfect for people who reside in shared housing. So, for example, a community solar project could be an excellent option for people living in an apartment building.
By buying a share of a community solar project, you can benefit from clean, renewable energy and support your community while paying affordable rates.
Community solar is often confused with other types of clean energy electricity. So let’s clear that up:
- Community Solar is not Crowdfunding: Some organizations have opened up clean energy investment via crowdfunding platforms that allow people to invest in renewable energy. These solar projects are just an investment. You don’t get electricity to offset your bill. Since they’re investments, the gains are taxable. However, the savings from community solar projects aren’t.
- Community Solar is not Green Power: Green power allows people to buy electricity from renewable sources, primarily from large-scale solar, wind, and hydro projects. The intention behind signing up for these programs is to do the right thing. In contrast, a community solar program is developed to save money on energy bills.
- Community Solar is not Group Purchasing: Group purchasing allows several businesses or households to buy their solar systems at a discounted price. Unlike community solar projects, each participant in a group purchasing program buys their own solar project.
When you sign up for community solar farms, you either purchase a share of electricity or get access to the electricity through several solar panels in the array. And more often than not, community solar is a more affordable option than buying or leasing rooftop solar panels.
This format allows people to become subscribers and pay a more affordable price on their monthly electric bills. So, rather than owning a share of the project or owning panels, you’re just buying electricity at an affordable rate than you’d pay to buy electricity from your local utility.
Most subscription-based community solar programs are easy to sign up for. For example, a solar farm Company in New York called ClearPath Energy has a sign-up process that takes just a few minutes. You can go to their website, type in your zip code, and see the projects available in your area.
Also, these programs don’t require upfront fees, meaning you don’t have to put any money down to get started. And you can cancel your subscription at any time if your circumstances change.
This format allows people to buy a share of the community solar project or a select number of solar panels. When you make a purchase into a community solar project, you will get electric bill savings or credit from the power produced by the panels you own.
For these projects, you are only allowed to buy enough shares to meet your annual usage. That way, more people can invest in community solar and get a piece of the action.
Community solar can provide a number of benefits for residents and businesses. Perhaps most importantly, it can help reduce energy costs without having to install them on their own property. Community solar can also help promote renewable energy and support local economies by providing financial support to solar projects.
In addition, community solar can provide environmental benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, community solar can help build social and environmental awareness by providing opportunities for education and engagement.
All of these benefits make community solar a great choice for residents and businesses alike. If you’re interested in learning more about community solar, please contact your local community solar provider.
Community solar is becoming more popular as people become more interested in renewable energy. They’re a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and support renewable energy.
There are a lot of community solar projects out there, so do your research to find the one that’s right for you. You can also contact your local utility to see if they offer any community solar projects in your area.