When it comes to energy efficiency, cost can mean the difference between a hot or a cold shower for those struggling to make ends meet. That’s why community solar projects across the nation are working with utility cooperatives to generate power for low-income neighborhoods so that the technologies that are the most efficient, and most cost-effective, can work for those who need it most.
A new solar solution is coming to communities where the cost of solar installation was not financially viable.
The purpose of community solar is simple – to give groups of people shared access to ownership of solar panels they can’t install on their properties. For reasons of space, cost, or accessibility, community solar gives customers the option to buy portions of a pre-built solar field.
To take advantage of the new opportunity, community solar projects are being purchased by rural utility cooperatives to generate solar for not just one, but hundreds of houses in an effort to offer more affordable solar options for low-income communities.
Often called “shared solar,” these projects offer ownership or leased shares to multiple participants in a mid-sized solar facility in order to receive credits that lower their monthly utility bills.
Isbel Palans, a resident of the Colorado Rockies, has seen her energy bill cut in half by shared solar. When asked how she feels about the cooperative, a 76-year-old Palans replied, “I’ve been thrilled.”
There’s no reason that energy from our most renewable resource (the sun) needs to be locked behind an income threshold. Unlike energy options from traditional utilities, community solar allows access to the same benefits of solar to everyone.