Mid-sized solar projects (e.g., up to 2MW) sited within the customer’s utility service territory and connected to the distribution grid. The output of the solar array is divided among multiple subscribers, who receive utility bill credits for their share of the energy production. Typically, the utility or a third party develops and maintains the plant on behalf of the subscribers. Community Solar is a subset of Community Renewable projects that cover a larger set of renewable resources.
Also known as Community Shared Solar, Shared Solar
Community solar allows consumers to get solar energy even if they are not able to install on-site solar on their property (e.g., as is the case with renters or those without viable rooftops for hosting solar). Community members can purchase shares of the system directly through an upfront payment or pay monthly for a specified level of output of the project. They can then receive monthly bill credits for their share of the project. For local governments to take advantage of this option, the state must have an established community solar policy or the utility must offer their own program. Some states require that a portion of the output (e.g., 5-10%) must be set aside for low- and moderate-income participants. Similar to community solar, some states have passed virtual net metering legislation, which enables the output of a solar facility to be credited to multiple customers or facilities. Customers can sign a contract with a solar facility that is not located on their property but still receive the same financial benefits (i.e., bill credits) from the utility as though it were on their property.
- Has my state enacted community solar legislation?
- If so, what state supported community solar programs exist?
- Is there a limit on the project size if the program is state-supported?
- Is virtual net metering allowed in my state?
- At what rate am I compensated/credited when I generate more electricity than I use?
- For the state program, does my state require low to moderate income considerations?
- If I move within the service territory, can I take my subscription with me?
- Can I transfer the community solar panel ownership / contract to others?
- Where can I site community solar projects?
SharedRenewablesScorecard.org; SharedRenewables.org; DSIREusa.org; NREL.gov