WEEanswers: How Does Community Solar Work?

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What Is Community Solar?

Community solar is a shared purchasing program, which can be a great option for those who cannot install solar panels on their rooftops due to installation barriers.

Typically, solar ‘subscribers’ can either buy or lease a portion of the solar panels in the array. (An array comprises a collection of linked solar modules made up of multiple solar panels). This solar energy can be shared potentially by hundreds or thousands of people. Solar subscribers may receive an electric bill credit for electricity generated by their share.

As of 2020, roughly a third of U.S. states have ‘enabling policies’ — which have passed legislation to allow a third-party market for community solar sharing. This requires project developers to follow certain regulations to enrol subscribers and carry out installations. In areas without set enabling policies, community solar projects are developed and managed by the local utility.

Who can benefit?

Monthly energy bills can be reduced for subscribers who live in areas where solar power is less expensive than traditionally generated electricity. If subscribers move to a new home within the same utility service territory, they can typically continue to benefit from their share. Programs may also have options for selling or donating subscriptions.

Utilities will also benefit from community solar as they can strategically install solar arrays in areas of the grid where needed the most — in the form of clean, renewable energy!

For more on solar energy – check out our interactive SOLAR potential platform here: https://myheat.ca/solar-potential/

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