Exploring community solar in Granville, Ohio

tempoAmazing things can happen when a community comes together.

Residents of Granville, Ohio that have long been environmentally conscious started to investigate ways to reduce their carbon footprints and back clean, renewable power. Now, residents are looking into the possibility of joining together to create a community-owned solar garden at the site of a former restaurant, the Bryn Mawr. Community Renewable Energy has been working with them as they explore their solar options. 

Community Renewable Energy’s founder, Joe Recchie, owns the possible host site. As host, he would pay shareholders of the solar power array for power produced. That way, they can support renewable energy and even enjoy a financial return without installing their own individual rooftop photovoltaic panels.

Drew Bracken recently wrote about Granville residents’ interest in community solar in the Newark Advocate. He spoke to Ken Apacki, who explained the appeal: “The economic payoffs are running the meter backwards and AEP reducing your bill by the amount of electricity that you produce in excess to what you use. Ohio doesn’t allow us to reduce our bills at home, but if we’re partners in this solar farm, we are partners in any benefits from excess power production that goes back to AEP. So he would guarantee to buy the power that it would produce and the excess would reduce the bill he pays to AEP. This way we don’t have to put solar panels on our house.”

“This project could serve as a national model for community collaboration, local sustainability and building neighborhood resiliency,” said Community Renewable Energy’s Laura Recchie.

Across the nation, community-owned solar is becoming a popular alternative to household rooftop arrays. Why? Because community solar:

  • Overcomes barriers to renewable energy by raising capital, accessing tax incentives, and sharing energy among geographically dispersed owners.
  • Is affordable, because while it costs the same or less than individual ownership, it still offers a return on investment. In addition, Community Renewable Energy’s financial expertise minimizes your project’s startup costs, so you save money from day one.
  • Disperses benefits to many, varied investors– even to those who aren’t shareholders. Local schools gain from the educational component, and future generations can benefit from community-based environmental advocacy.
  • Is inclusive, welcoming owners of shaded property, renters, business owners, educators, students, future community members, and residents who may move within 25 years. A broad base of participants is the secret to the success of a solar garden.
  • Is influential within your community and the surrounding area. Your example challenges large energy users to make corresponding investments.
  • Is replicable and serves as a model for other communities.
  • Is educational, allowing local educators and students to partner with the community group for hands-on learning right in their own backyard.

For more about community solar and solar gardens, check out:

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