The Obama Administration has announced dozens of cities, states, and businesses are collaborating to promote community solar; with a focus of boosting solar electricity for low- and middle- income households.
68 partners are involved in the initiative, building on previous commitments that combined will reach more than 20,000 low to moderate income households and see USD $545 million invested across 21states.
“Community solar has the potential to unlock economic growth across the United States while providing clean solar power to historically underserved communities and allowing them to benefit from the falling costs and increased deployment of solar,” says part of a statement from the White House’s Office of the Press Secretary.
Nearly half of all households and businesses in the USA are un able to install solar power systems due to issues such as a lack of financial resources or roof space. Low income households spend four times as much of their income as a proportion on energy.
Community solar comes in a number of different forms, including community group purchasing, on and offsite shared solar, and community driven financial models.
Shared solar participants usually benefit by owning or leasing a segment of a system, or by buying kilowatt-hour blocks of solar electricity generation. This solar electricity is often significantly cheaper than what can be sourced from the mains grid.
The Administration originally launched the National Community Solar Partnership in July. Since that time, 40 companies have joined the program. As well as promoting solar, the members utilize the technical expertise of the Department Of Energy (DOE) and its national laboratories.
Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch welcomed the announcement.
“There is no doubt that community solar can help the U.S. transition to cleaner sources of energy and it can create jobs and economic activity in communities that have the most to gain from robust solar development,” said Mr Resch.
Community solar is also gaining steam in Australia. One of the more recent high-profile projects is the Tathra Community Solar Farm, which involved solar panels being purchased by individuals, businesses and community groups.