Home & Real Estate

Things to Expect With Community Solar Installation Programs

Whether you are interested in joining a community solar program or you have already joined one, there are certain things you can expect from them. These programs help your community reduce its carbon footprint while providing energy to the electricity grid.


Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Increasingly, communities across the United States are using solar energy as a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the past, these efforts were led by local government, but more and more are being led by nonprofit groups, utilities, and building design professionals. A community solar installation program can reduce electric bills, save on utility costs and help to mitigate climate change. Some programs are available for residents, including the New York Drive Clean Rebate and the Community Solar Green Tariff. These programs are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and create jobs. Solar heating and cooling systems can provide 80% of the energy needed to heat a home or office space. In New York, the state’s goal is to have an economy-wide carbon-neutral power sector by 2050. This requires the development of an unprecedented number of renewable energy facilities. The Electric Power Sector is among the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. A single acre of solar panels can offset 121 to 138 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. There are many other ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including better energy efficiency of buildings and using EnergyStar-certified appliances. Electric vehicles also qualify for state rebates.

Helps Low-Income Communities

Developing community solar programs that help low-income communities is an excellent way to promote environmental benefits and create local job opportunities. However, to make solar accessible to lower-income households, policymakers must address several barriers to participation, including lack of capital and greater siting issues. By working with existing community support organizations, a program can make solar more accessible while reducing administrative burdens for low-income subscribers. One example of a low-income community solar program is the Solar for All California program, launched in 2010. In the first year of operation, the program installed solar arrays in 1,482 low-income homes with funding from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The program benefited from a combination of federal and state tax credits and is expected to generate more than $7,700 in bill credits in the first year. The program also benefited from a partnership with the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) to offset the electric bills of 35 low-income families.

Provides Energy To The Electricity Grid

Having a solar community program installed on your roof is a great way to save money. It also improves the quality of your community’s air. It can also help your business or nonprofit. Community solar projects vary in their program details. Most involve a solar array that a third party owns. These can be located on your roof, field, or a commercial building. The best part is that most of these projects are free to participate in. For example, a community solar project that produces 600 kWh of electricity per month can save you up to 15% off your electric bill. However, this is one of many possible ways to save money with a solar array. Community solar is also an excellent way to clean up your power grid. It’s also a great way to earn solar credits from your utility. The same goes for other types of renewable energy generation, such as wind or large-scale hydropower. The main difference between a solar community project and a green power program is that a solar community project offers bill savings right away. Green power programs offer incentives to customers who invest in renewable energy projects but are usually more expensive.

Offers A Way To Participate In The Renewable Energy Revolution

Whether a business or homeowner, community solar programs allow you to participate in the renewable energy revolution. Participating can reduce your carbon footprint, lower your electric bill, and support clean, local energy.

Local governments, utility companies, or nonprofit organizations run community solar programs. Participants purchase a portion of a local solar farm in return for credits on their electricity bills. The amount of savings varies depending on the size of the farm, the location, and the energy the farm produces. Most community solar companies sell their energy at a fixed discount, between 10 and 20 percent. This discount allows customers to lock in guaranteed savings even if electricity prices go up or down. Some states have adopted the “UCB” model, which allows utility customers to get credits for participating in shared solar. It is yet to be common in all states, but it is picking up steam. Its “seamless” one-bill model is a popular choice for subscribers. New York State, for instance, has implemented a “Community Solar Energy Pilot Program” to reduce solar energy costs. It has also developed a framework for community solar enrollment. The state’s process is fast and transparent. This makes it easier to participate in the clean energy revolution.