When electrical power first came to America, only societies richest could afford it. It was a symbol of status and power if you had electrical lights in your home, and the rest of the world had no other choice but to sit and wait, despite the universal advantages electricity provides society.

Today, solar energy is looking to make up for the sins of past electrical producers. Thanks to the advent of community solar projects, clean energy is no longer an option reserved for those with the means to install solar panels for personal use.

The idea is simple – accessibility to solar energy shouldn’t depend on your access to roof space or a spacious living situation. That’s why utility companies and solar providers came up with community solar. With larger solar farms placed outside of communities, residents can buy or lease portions of the solar farm they would use. No upkeep, no installation costs, and no residential space required.

Ideas like this taking off in states like Florida, where the country’s largest community solar project is currently being developed, but local cities with dense living populations are seeing enormous changes in solar accessibility thanks to community solar, particularly in low-income communities that need cuts to their utility costs with renewable energy.

A church in Washington, D.C. recently attached 168 kilowatts worth of solar panels to its roof to help generate power for itself as well as 47 local low-income families. The panels are expected to significantly cut energy costs for both the church and the families over the next 20 years.

Jessica Ennis, a Legislative Director for Climate & Energy, thinks this new use for solar will only increase from here. “Community colar is a tool to allow everyone to participate in our growing renewable energy economy. These programs are a win-win for consumers and our climate.” 

With national organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy backing the approach, community solar is providing cheaper, cleaner energy to those who need it most. 

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