Most Americans are bullish on solar power. However, the majority of Americans are unable to install their own rooftop solar system because either they don’t own the place where they live or because their home is unsuitable for installing solar panels for one reason or another.
For residents in 24 states, there is an alternative: community solar. Community solar installations are like a p-patch or community garden. Multiple members of a community share in the benefits derived from a common solar power installation. The installations are often located on public or jointly-owned property. The majority of community solar installations are in California, Colorado, Minnesota and Massachusetts. Community solar is often described as a way to open up solar power’s benefits to the masses.
They come in several forms. Some utilities provide customers an option to purchase solar energy from a shared facility they operate. In other cases, residents and businesses invest in a community solar installation and receive credits on their utility bills for their share of the energy production. Some installations are strictly business enterprises that individuals invest in. There are even non-profit community solar installations that operate specifically to raise money for charitable causes.
Community solar is growing in the US. The total power generated by community solar in the U.S. is predicted to double over the next year. Additional states are getting on the bandwagon.
For many participants, community solar is not simply a way to reduce their energy bills, it is a way to participate in their community and contribute to reducing greenhouse gases even though they don’t have their own roof to cover with solar panels.