Community solar gardens take root

Solar power gardens are being embraced by communities in the US and across the globe

The economic and ecological advantages of solar power are clear by now, but installing residential solar panels simply isn’t an option for everyone. Community solar gardens are emerging as the smart alternative.

Community solar model

The beauty of solar power gardens is that renters, students, businesses, and owners of shaded property can participate. Plus, panels last well over 25 years, so solar gardens allow residents who might relocate within that time frame to take part. A broad base of shareholders ensures project viability and extends benefits to a large group rather than to a single homeowner.

Solar gardens are sprouting up across America

Community Renewable Energy is proud to partner with Central Ohio’s solar power learning center, the Solar Farm Co-op, on the creation of a community-owned solar array in Granville, Ohio.

Thanks largely to their constituents, state policymakers are recognizing the need for community solar. This year, the California Senate approved a bill that allows more residents to buy shares of renewable energy and then receive credit for that power on their electricity bill. Lois Wolk, the bill’s sponsor, spoke of the impetus for the change, explaining, “Three out of four Californians have a strong interest in buying clean energy, and pay into programs to support renewable energy programs, but aren’t able to install their own solar unit, windmill, or other renewable power generation system for a variety of reasons.”

Community solar is the solution to that problem.

Meanwhile, Vermont is establishing its first solar power farm, open to any state resident, and Minnesota is adding multiple community solar projects, including some that utilize crowd funding. Colorado passed a Community Solar Gardens Act and is already seeing solar gardens blossoming across the state.

The US isn’t the only country getting in on the act

Australians are demanding federal support for community solar arrays, solar farms are being cultivated in England, and Germany’s world-class renewable energy infrastructure is supported by robust community involvement, which has been described as a “small town energy revolution.”

At Community Renewable Energy, we follow international developments as well as domestic policy, and it’s heartening to see the support solar gardens are enjoying. Centralizing solar panels eliminates barriers to renewable energy and extends benefits to an entire community, so perhaps it’s no surprise that this model is gaining popularity.

Community solar power: environmentally soundFor more on community solar, check out:

Is your community investing in solar power? Share your story with Community Renewable Energy.

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