When you omit shady roofs, renters, and other factors, only about 25 percent of Americans have a place to install solar power. With the high upfront cost of a complete system, the potential solar universe shrinks further.
That changes with “community solar.”
After a long wait on the state’s Public Utilities Commission to finalize the rules, Colorado’s “community solar gardens” program (my summary here) sold out in 30 minutes when it opened two months ago, a testament to the pent-up demand for solar among those who don’t own a sunny roof. The program allows individuals to subscribe or buy shares in a local solar project, and in return receive a share of the electricity output.
The community solar garden policy offers several significant benefits:
Fortunately, Colorado isn’t the only state considering this policy. California’s legislature recently debated SB 843 to allow “virtual net metering,” a blanket policy that lets customers share the output from a single renewable energy facility, although sometimes it’s limited to certain types of customers (municipalities, residential, etc.).
Other Resources on Community Solar:
This post originally appeared on ILSR’s Energy Self-Reliant States blog.
Lead image: Colorado sign via Shutterstock
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