About Community Solar
Community solar provides a way for commercial, industrial, municipal, and residential customers, who can not or do not want to install a solar array on their property, to benefit from solar energy.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and U.S. Department of Energy estimate that only 50% of rooftops, for both residential and commercial buildings, are suitable for solar arrays. Community solar is a solution for the other 50%. Third-party developers construct local solar projects that connect with the utility grid, taking away the obligation to host an on-site solar array. This arrangement keeps the solar projects local and cost-effective benefitting the surrounding community.
Customers can subscribe to the community solar projects. Through these subscriptions, a customer can stay with their existing utility company and sign up to directly support solar projects in their local area. As part of the subscription, customers will receive credits from the utility for the power produced by the community solar project, lowering their utility bill.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is community solar?
Community solar is an easy option for customers who are looking to benefit from solar energy. With no upfront investment necessary, residential and commercial customers subscribe to an offsite solar garden and start saving on utility bills once the garden is energized. With community solar, the customer only pays for the power that is produced in the garden. There are no installation or maintenance costs, and customers can feel good about supporting clean energy.
How does community solar work?
Local solar projects typically ranging between 0.5 and 10 MW in a participating utility’s service area are built and connected to the existing electrical grid. Customers subscribe to the solar projects instead of putting solar modules on their roofs, offsetting their electrical usage with solar energy. The solar energy generated by the customer’s project is sent directly to the power grid, and the customer receives solar credits from the utility for the same solar output.
What are the beneftis of community solar?
Community solar offers a convenient and practical way to support locally-produced, clean energy generation. When you choose community solar, you actively help send renewable energy to the power grid, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. The solar projects are built and maintained by the project owner eliminating the need for rooftop installations, roof inspection requirements, and ongoing maintenance. Lastly, the construction and maintenance of local solar farms provides new local jobs for your community.
What is the difference between community solar and rooftop solar?
While both methods have reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the most significant difference between rooftop solar and community solar is convenience. Rooftop solar requirements include adequate roof space and access to sunlight, and permitting and installation. Once a rooftop solar system is installed and activated, the property owner is responsible for the maintenance of the modules, if they own the system. Community solar does not include rooftop installation or the associated requirements. Instead, the solar energy is generated by a nearby solar project that is constructed and operated by the project owner.