If you have been looking into the renewable energy market, you likely heard of community solar.
According to the Department of Energy, community solar describes a solar project or program through which solar energy flows to several customers.
These customers include residents, small- to medium-sized businesses, corporations, non-profits organizations, and other institutions.
This article outlines 10 compelling reasons why people should choose community solar farms as their source of energy.
10 Compelling Reasons Why People Should Choose Community Solar Projects
From saving money to saving the environment, here are ten reasons to choose community solar projects:
- Reducing Electricity Bills
One of the most common reasons why people sign up to be a part of community solar projects is to reduce their electricity bills.
Nowadays, generating solar energy is more competitive or more affordable than generating other forms of energy. Switching to renewable energy, therefore, helps local governments save taxpayers’ money.
Community solar can also significantly decrease your electricity bill. When you sign up to join community solar projects, your utility company will deduct the corresponding value of the power generated by the project you joined from your bill. If you consume more than the assigned value, you will only be charged for the electricity you consumed above that level.
2. More Jobs
Generating renewable energy becomes more affordable than running existing coal plants each year.
According to research, operating almost all existing coal plants in the US will become more expensive than creating replacement solar plants by 2025.
Several utilities and states are also setting completely clean energy goals. Their actions create new demand for workers to build solar panels.
In 2018 alone, the United States increased clean energy jobs by 110,000, outnumbering jobs generated from fossil fuel plants by approximately three to one.
3. Access for the Masses
Less than 50% of community solar projects in the US have participation from low-income households. Of the community solar projects that involve lower-income households, only approximately 5% involve a sizable share (over 10% share) according to a recent survey.
However, states, non-profit organizations, and experts have been working hard to change the statistics.
Twelve states and the District of Columbia are developing or have developed various mandates, programs, and financial incentives to make it easier for low-income households to access community solar projects. As a result, solar energy is becoming more accessible for the masses.
4. Local Resiliency
Another reason why people should choose community solar is local resiliency.
There are two key features that make community solar projects assets for increasing community resilience.
First, solar energy can be distributed, not centralized. Pairing solar energy with microgrids or storage facilities can reduce communities’ dependence on the regular grid in times of disasters such as storms, earthquakes, and hurricanes.
Second, solar energy can be stored and distributed without the need for conventional fuel delivery systems. Unlike conventional generators― the most popular source of backup power― subscribers to community solar projects can continue delivering power even at night.
5. Financial Incentives for Communities
Solar energy generation is becoming more popular. With this comes the tax payments generated by communities. These payments can then be used to fund developments for a community or town.
Installing community solar farms allows towns to decrease their expensive electricity bills by generating their own electricity. By exporting less of their electricity payments to out-of-state companies, towns can also locally keep those funds.
6. Flexibility for Renters
A huge amount of renters in the US want access to solar energy. However, renters usually need permission from their landlords for a new subscription or the installation of solar panels.
Fortunately, joining community solar projects does not require the permission of landlords.
If you want to be a part of a community solar farm near your rented home, you do not have to check in with your landlord beforehand. You can start saving money right away. Some local communities even offer you solar energy simply because you are a member.
7. No Installation Needed
You cannot easily install solar panels on your roof. Finding the right contractors to do it for you can also be expensive and time-consuming.
As a community solar subscriber, you do not need to install solar panels on your roof or build a facility to obtain solar energy. You also do not have to pay for maintenance.
The responsibility falls on the operator of the community solar project, not you. You never have to worry about installation and maintenance.
8. No Upfront Costs
Being a part of a community solar project does not just lower your electricity bills. It has another financial benefit— no upfront costs.
For one, you don’t have to purchase any panels. Instead, you subscribe to the electricity produced by your community solar at a lower price relative to a regular utility company.
Most community solar projects also do not have membership, enrollment, and hidden fees. You also won’t be charged until the community solar farm is completely constructed and activated.
9. More Choices for People Who Want to Use Solar Energy
Approximately half of the US’ total population— about 164 million people — cannot benefit from solar energy because they don’t have enough rooftop space or they rent.
Millions of those who have adequate rooftop space just can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars to install solar panels.
Community solar projects offer a way for these people to access solar energy without breaking the bank and tied up to strict contacts.
10. Excellent Way to Save the Environment
A reliable power source is much needed for living nowadays. Of equal concern, however, is the increasing concern for the effect growing consumption has on the environment.
Science clearly states it― fossil-fueled emissions are causing the Earth to warm up at an alarmingly fast rate. From extreme weather to rising sea levels, man-made climate change threatens our way of life.
Joining a community solar project lets you use renewable energy. By doing so, you help reduce pollution and slow down man-made climate change.
From financial to saving-the-environment incentives, there are several reasons why people should choose community solar. If you want to reduce your electricity bills without causing further damage to the planet, the time to act is now.