As everyone tries to reduce their carbon footprint, consume less energy, and just generally live a greener lifestyle, community solar projects are popping up all over the place. If you haven’t seen or been part of one yourself, you may be wondering: What are community solar projects?
We want to help everyone get involved in the solar movement, so we’re going to break down and explain solar projects. Here are the answers to some common questions about community solar.
Q: What Are Community Solar Projects?
To put it in the simplest terms possible, a community solar project is where a community creates a solar power system and shares in the benefits. Typically, a large solar site is built nearby by a professional solar installer. The residents of the community then subscribe to the project and pay a fee.
Not only do they benefit from having solar power in their community, there’s more. Extra energy generated is sold back to the electric company, and each member of the community is given a portion of the credit.
While most solar installations are only part of one property, a community solar project involves multiple properties, homes, businesses, farms, or even government buildings.
If a homeowner doesn’t want or have the ability to install solar panels on their property, they can still share in the benefits of solar through a community solar project. This is particularly useful for those who can’t install solar themselves because of rental regulations, space, or other reasons.
Q: What is a Community Solar Program and Is It Different?
In a nutshell, community solar programs and projects are closely related but not exactly the same.
A community solar program is a purchasing agreement to buy into or create a solar project within a community. Many states allow community solar programs that are owned and operated by a collection of residents who share the benefits. The largest utility company in the area usually oversees the program.
This allows communities to generate energy and offset the utility expenses of the entire group through a cooperative effort. This is how even members who can’t install solar panels can benefit from having a community solar project in their area.
Q: Is Community Solar a Good Idea?
There are a number of benefits to community solar as well as well as a few drawbacks. To help you determine if community solar is a good option in your area, let’s look at the pros and cons.
- Third party investors usually cover the cost to set up and run a community solar project
- The price of kilowatt hours of solar energy is much lower than other energy sources
- Even those who can’t employ solar themselves can enjoy energy credits for being part of the community
- It can be difficult to find 3rd party contributors to fund installation
- Ownership and program details can be difficult to figure out
- It’s not yet available in all areas
As you can see, the benefits of a community solar project are absolutely there. While there are some challenges at this point, the benefits outweigh any issues that may arise during the process. Who doesn’t want to protect the environment and save money on their energy bill at the same time?
As more states adopt community solar, the opportunities to benefit from solar energy will continue to grow.
Interested in Community Solar? Solar Sam Gets You Started.
As the leading solar provider in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois (and beyond), Solar Sam has answers to all your solar questions. If you’re a third party contributor looking to professionally install a stellar solar energy system, contact us! We fully support community solar projects and offer products from all the top solar energy brands.
When you’re ready to start your solar energy journey, Solar Sam is here for you.