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Community Solar - A Potential Sustainability Solution for Greener Urban Settlements

Krishna Vansadia MA, United States 0 Ratings 2 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: Krishna Vansadia

Community Solar Introduction

What is community solar? Community solar can refer to both ‘community-owned’ projects as well as third party-owned plants whose electricity is shared by a community. The primary purpose of community solar is to allow members of a community the opportunity to share the benefits of solar power even if they cannot or prefer not to install solar panels on their property. Participants can buy solar credits from these farms and eventually are tied to their utility provider, who offers them discounts based on these credits. What are the benefits of community solar? In a nutshell, community solar offers a way for virtually anyone to go solar, without installing solar panels. Virtual net metering is also a top way community solar participants benefit through community solar projects. VNM allows a household or business to receive the Net Metering credits associated with a renewable energy project with which they do not share an electricity meter. Every unit (kilowatt-hour or kWh) of electricity generated by the community solar farm will effectively reduce the participant’s power bill by the factor decided by the community solar farm or the utility provider Examples: New York: Community solar groups run by solar companies such as IPP allows apartment dwellers and renter to access solar energy by buying solar credits from these firms. IPP runs several community solar farms in and around the city. This has not only helped to support greener energy but made it financially viable as it helps to reduce energy bills by 10-15%. Washington: Edmonds Community Solar Co-Op was ideated inorder to lower the barriers to installing solar, by centralizing the installation in a sunny location, pooling the installation costs, and using State incentives to lower the costs over the long term. The Edmond Community Solar Co-Op model allows families to put in as little as $1,000 towards the project. Collaborating with the City of Edmonds, this project is working toward the objective of installing a community-owned solar photovoltaic array atop the Frances Anderson Center (City’s Community Center). This is particularly alluring for homeowners whose property isn’t suitable for a home solar installation, but who want to contribute to local power generation. Sources:



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