What is Community Solar?
A community solar project is an arrangement in which several users subscribe to a single, large solar panel system. Doing so allows subscribers to offset their electricity use with a portion of the electricity generated by the shared solar panel system. The system may be community-owned or owned by a third party.
Community solar projects allow all subscribers to invest in the development of solar power, even if they cannot or do not want to install solar panels on their individual property.
Community solar is sometimes confused with other approaches. It is NOT:
- Group purchasing, in which a large number of property owners purchase individual systems at a bulk rate
- Green power, in which utility customers pay a premium for green forms of energy, usually wind or hydro
- Crowdfunding/online solar investment platforms, which are strictly investment pools and participants do not benefit from the solar power generated
- Solar energy distributed by a utility whose customers have not subscribed to solar power
How Does Community Solar Work?
The energy offset is often passed on to participants in the form of energy credits.
In a one-to-one match, for example, every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by the shared solar system would reduce a subscriber’s energy bill by that much. In this example, if a participant’s share of the solar system is 5kWh per day, they would receive 5kWh of solar credits on their electrical bill.
In addition to energy benefits for subscribers, the owner of the community solar system may benefit from federal and state solar incentives and from the sale of Renewable Energy Certificates.
The details of shared solar projects vary by location. SunVest Solar can assist you in exploring and understanding these options.
Check out examples of some of our community solar projects for more information.