Even the Playing Field with Community Solar
Rising electricity prices have a disproportionate impact on low-income families. Renewable energy has the ability to mitigate dependence on the variability of fossil fuel prices; however, many low-income families lack the finances to cover the up-front costs of a residential solar PV system. They also often rent their homes and cannot install a system on a structure they do not own.
Community solar bridges this economic gap by allowing individuals to purchase shares of larger solar installations, such as a solar farm or a rooftop installation for a large apartment complex. Different ownership models (particularly utility owned or third-party owned) allow community members to develop the solar PV system that best meets their needs.
Community solar maximizes the number of families and individuals who can benefit from it. Being able to build the systems off-site (in states that allow virtual net metering) makes it easier to pick an optimal location and to benefit from greater economies of scale. Not only do these programs enable low-income families to adopt renewable energy, but they also typically generate electricity savings and can be integrated into more extensive plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Many communities across the U.S. are already engaging in community solar using a variety of different models. The Community Power Network lists a number of examples on its website and provides resources for groups interested in community solar.
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