what is community solar
Jun 12, 2020

In 2019, solar energy accounted for 40% of all new electric generating capacity in the United States. As the trend of solar continues to rise, more solar energy projects continue to emerge.

The goal of many solar projects is to install solar equipment for residential or commercial property use. However, the installation of solar equipment may not be possible for certain property types.

What if you rent your home or the building of your business does not have a suitable roof for solar equipment?

Previously, factors like these would have prevented individuals from accessing solar energy due to an inability to install equipment. This has changed thanks to the emergence of projects like community solar.

Community solar projects make solar energy more accessible by creating solar energy resources that the community can share.

Keep reading to learn more about community solar, how it works, and the unique benefits this project can provide your community.

What is Community Solar?

Whether or not you’ve heard of this type of project before, you might wonder: what is community solar?

We’ve already touched on the goal of a community solar project—to provide access to solar energy to multiple properties in a community. However, in what way does this type of solar project achieve that goal? How is it different from other solar projects?

Solar equipment is not installed on one individual’s property for this type of solar project. Instead, solar equipment is installed on another property known as a community solar facility.

While community solar is similar to other shared energy projects, there are some major differences.

There are methods, such as group purchasing, which can be beneficial for nonprofits. Unlike community projects, the result of group purchasing is not a shared community resource. Rather, each benefits from their purchased solar resource separately.

Other similar methods are green power programs, which are offered by utility companies.

A major motivation for community initiatives is to save the community participants money on their energy bills, not green power programs.

How Does Community Solar Work?

Community solar operates on a subscription model. This subscription is managed by the facility, which is most commonly a utility company. However, other models do exist where a developer or special purpose entity owns the solar facility.

Subscribed participants pay a lower price for the electricity that is generated by a community solar facility.

A project can have multiple subscribers across a range of property types; renters, homeowners, and businesses can all subscribe and share the benefits of the solar project.

Benefits of Community-Owned Solar

Participants can purchase a section of solar panels or a share in the project.

When a participant purchases a share of a solar project, they get credits on their utility bill in return. The specific value that these credits have depends on state legislation and regulation of the project.

Additional benefits to community-owned solar include:

  • Off-site installation: If your property can’t support solar installation, this project’s off-site solar facility allows you to access solar benefits without installing the equipment yourself.
  • Saving money with project costs: The subscription model of community projects can save you money. Additionally, the credits you gain on your utility bill lowers its cost as well.
  • A great environmental alternative: Going green is a great way to help the environment. Investing in a community solar project allows more property owners to access the benefits of solar.

Help Your Neighborhood Go Green With Solar Power

Community projects for solar energy are a great way to give back to your local community. These projects help the local environment, but they also give the local economy a boost.

To get any solar project started, you’ll need the right solar financing solution to support your project. Understanding what solution would benefit your project the most can seem challenging at first.

Fortunately, you don’t have to decide on your own. With a dedication to the renewable energy sector, AVANA Capital’s team has an in-depth understanding of the industry.

The team at AVANA Capital uses the knowledge they gain about your project to create a custom lending solution that fits your project’s needs.

In the end, you’ll receive a flexible financial loan that is personalized for your project’s unique goals and requirements.

Are you looking for the right community solar financing for your project?

Contact the team at AVANA Capital to learn more about its renewable energy lending solutions today.