What is community solar?


Today, only a small minority of American households and businesses have access to solar because they rent, live in multitenant buildings, have roofs that are unable to host a solar system, are shaded by trees, or experience some other mitigating factor.

Community solar refers to local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. This model for solar is being rapidly adopted nationwide.

Unlike rooftop solar, community solar gives you all the benefits of solar energy, without the hassle. When enrolling in community solar, you will not only go green and save, but you will also support your local economy by helping to create local jobs and tax revenue.


Why is community solar important?


Community solar provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the physical attributes or ownership of their home or business. Community solar expands access to solar for all, including in particular low-to-moderate income customers most impacted by a lack of access, all while building a stronger, distributed, and more resilient electric grid.

Equal Access 

Community solar works for anyone with an electric bill, including renters, residents in multi-unit buildings, municipalities, non-profits and businesses that don’t own their roofs. That means community solar can give ALL Americans equal access to solar for the first time.

Favorable Economics

Sunshine is free, which means solar offers reliable energy at a predictable rate for decades. And because community solar projects are optimally sited, professionally maintained, and built at scale, consumers can save even more money.

It's Easy

Customers can sign up to participate in a community solar project in a few minutes and begin receiving power production credits on their next utility bill. No contractor visits, permits, or maintenance means no hassle.

How community solar works?


There are multiple ways in which a community solar project can be organized, including:

Utility-sponsored communities

In this model, the utility company owns and operates a solar farm. Consumers can either purchase or lease a portion of the energy being produced by the solar farm and in return, receive a credit on their electric bill.

As energy from non-renewable resources becomes more expensive, consumers with options such as these will be able to realize significant savings.

Special Purpose Entities (SPEs)

In this model, individuals and corporations come together to form a business (an SPE), specifically for the development of a single or multiple community solar projects. The business may design, construct, and own the facility, then work with the local utility to allocate benefits to subscribers.

The SPE model is usually implemented by organizations that seek to take advantage of incentives and tax credits not available to utilities. University Park Solar and the Clean Energy Collective are examples of the SPEs model.

On-bill crediting model

The on-bill crediting model allows energy consumers to invest in a local solar facility. In exchange, they receive a credit on their monthly power bill for their share of power produced. The credits may appear as reduced kilowatts-per-hour (kWh) or as monetary credit.

For example, if there were 10 shares total for a community solar project and you invested in 2 shares, you would receive kWh credits on your bill equal to the amount of energy your 2 shares produced.