Solar electricity has long been the future of the energy industry. A well-known quip in the renewable industry, is that enough sun hits the earth each day to meet all of our electricity needs for a year. If this is the case, why aren’t we taking advantage of the sun and its ample energy?
While the potential of solar energy is obviously abundant, many people face barriers to harnessing it. According to NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab) about one half of United States citizens cannot install rooftop solar due to barriers which include lack of ownership of the property, roofs that experience heavy shading, and the cost of installing panels.
Community solar is an option for people to break through these barriers and join the green revolution! Community solar allows participants to lower their electric bill, reduce their carbon footprint, and also stimulate local economies.
How does it Work?
When a community solar array is constructed in or near your community, you are able to subscribe to the panels. The energy that is generated from these panels is sent to the local grid. Subscribers receive a certain amount of credits depending on how much energy credits they purchase coming from a solar garden, which will lower their bill. This process is known as virtual net metering.
There are a couple different subscription options. The most common subscription plan has little to no upfront costs, you pay as you go, and is flexible with term options. This will vary depending on the developer but is typically a straight forward option. The purchase option allows for the ownership of the panels onsite syndicated with other members of your community. This allows for greater long term financial benefits de-risked through the project developer.
Community Solar in New York
Access to Community Solar in New York is growing rapidly. Governor Cuomo is staunchly supporting this growth, and will need to continue to support it, to reach New York’s goal of 50% renewable consumption by 2030. With over 728 megawatts of community solar in the works, it should not be hard to find a project in or near your neighborhood!