According to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the primary US research and development center for renewable energy, only a quarter of commercial and residential rooftops are suitable for solar panels. If that’s the case, it provides an opportunity for community solar projects to drive the initiative of shared solar energy.
But what is community solar? Community solar also known as Community Distributed Generation (CDG) is when a large solar array is built and hosted by a nearby landowner where interested customers can purchase a small percentage of the array. The array will be comprised a variety of different members. Residential, commercial, and industrial energy users qualify to participate, renters and owners alike. All members must be located in the same utility territory where the project is located. Any member looking to patriciate must have at least an allocation of 1,000kWh annually on their electric bill.
Participating members can pre-purchase, lease, enter into a PPA to become a part of the community solar array. The members within the community array receive net metering credits from the array which are deducted from their current electric bill. Members are not required to have any physical equipment at their home or business. Everything is sent electronically via the accrued net metering credits.
In communities across the United States, people are seeking alternatives to conventional energy sources. There are 24 states and climbing that currently are participating in some sort of shared renewables program. The universality of shared renewables where the project is being pooled by investments from multiple members of a community to provide power and/or financial benefits can be seen all over the world.
How can I qualify? Whether you aim to increase energy independence, hedge against rising fuel costs, cut carbon emissions, help increase local jobs, or are looking to community-scale renewable energy projects for solutions other than conventional energy sources, your local community can benefit too. Advances in solar technology, federal and state tax incentives, and creative new financing models have made solar projects including community solar projects, more financially feasible. We are currently seeking members for the WNY area in both National Grid and NYSEG territories.