Advantages of Community Solar offers many benefits, including a lower carbon footprint and support for the local economy. Community solar projects provide clean, locally generated electricity. Payment terms are flexible and often shorter than other options.
Some community solar projects even offer pay-as-you-go payment terms. In addition to lower electricity bills, community solar projects also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And they are easy to finance. As a result, community solar projects are a great option for small businesses and households with limited budgets with flexible payment terms.
1. Non-profit model
The non-profit model of community solar offers a trifecta of benefits to a low-income community: they reduce energy costs, help the environment, and improve the relationship between the utility and the local community. The non-profit model of community solar projects is becoming increasingly popular among local communities, schools, and churches.
The non-profits can often obtain financial support from supporters through tax-deductible donations. Though they would not reap any financial benefits from the energy generated by the system, the non-profits may still be able to access other funding opportunities through foundations, grants, and grants. Therefore, the non-profit model of community solar projects may be a better fit for a non-profit.
2. Access to clean energy for low-income households
Community solar projects are a key pillar of the renewable energy transition for low-income communities. These programs operate on a subscription basis, with members receiving bill credits for their part of the solar project.
The real benefit for low-income households, however, is the energy savings. Utilities must show that they can offer customers an affordable alternative to traditional electricity to make solar accessible to more people. Community solar projects are a great way to support local economies. They are also an effective way to provide clean energy to low-income households.
One important step toward increasing low-income solar deployment in low-income communities is the creation of new solar financing mechanisms. Publicly funded clean energy finance institutions, such as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), can help low-income communities reduce upfront costs by providing loan guarantees and low-cost financing for solar installations.
In addition, such financing programs can reduce credit requirements for solar lease programs and help local communities leverage other resources, such as the Community Reinvestment Act.
3. Access to the Municipal Grid
There are many advantages of community solar projects. The first is that they are not exclusive to homeowners. Renters, students, and housing communities can also be involved. Subscriptions can be easily transferred from one home to another without changing utility connections.
Additionally, community solar projects are a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of local communities. They replace fossil fuel-burning generation and provide cleaner air.
The second advantage is that these projects can provide electric savings to municipally owned properties. For example, in New York City, community solar projects are required to provide net credits of at least five percent to their customers.
Some community solar projects have even offered customers a 10 percent credit. Typically, a home’s monthly electric bill is composed of bills from the utility and its energy supply company. The energy supply company adds a small amount to the delivery charges.
4. Access to the local solar power supply
Increasingly, utilities are implementing community solar farms to meet renewable portfolio standards. As a result, community solar farms count as renewable energy, and more cities and towns demand them. Community solar projects can be implemented at any scale, from small rooftop systems to mini-grids.
The latter solution is particularly useful in rural areas where the electricity grid is not easily accessible or if the population density is low.
Standalone solar systems can meet limited needs, including lighting and phone charging, but may struggle with larger electricity loads. Therefore, the first step to a community solar system is to make sure you have enough space.