Nearly half of households and businesses are unable to install solar, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Community solar gives consumers and businesses the opportunity to participate in solar at a lower cost than installing independently due to economies of scale. Through community solar projects, people who rent, have an older home, or otherwise don’t have a good site for solar have the opportunity to reduce their energy costs while supporting locally-produced clean energy.
Here’s how it works:
A sponsor such as a local utility develops a large-scale community solar project and offers subscriptions to a portion of the power produced by the array and credits the subscriber’s monthly energy bill. There are several less common ways to organize a community solar project too — you can learn more about those at the Department of Energy’s Sunshot page on community solar.
What are the benefits?
- Maximizes output – Roof size, shade from trees & other buildings, and roof obstructions are not an issue. This allows for the maximum power to be produced.
- Economies of scale – Unlike individual installations, larger projects can take advantage of bulk pricing for materials and services.
- Easy zoning – HOA rules and other building codes are not an issue. Take advantage of solar without having to build an extension on your home or business.
- Construction & maintenance free – Buying into a Community Solar project means never having to deal with construction headaches. Simply buy in and reap the benefits.
- Rent your apartment or house? – Community Solar is great for renters who cannot build on their home or apartment but who still want to reap the benefits of solar.
Building a solar farm
- Each community solar owner can develop their own custom membership and cost model. We can help you customize a program to fit your needs.
- Members can purchase as much or as little solar energy as they desire, subject to individual program rules.
- Power generated from the bought-in portion is credited to the investor in some way. A common practice is using a credit on a subscriber’s utility bill.
If you are an electric power utility interested in installing a community solar project, ARiES Solar is a great place to start. In addition to design, project management, and construction, we also offer grant writing services and will advise you on state and federal incentives. Call us at (865) 309-4674 to start the process of providing clean, renewable energy to your community.