There are some ways to enjoy the environmental advantages of solar energy. Depending on the project objectives, you may either buy, lease or engage in a community solar installation on your land.

If it isn’t possible to put solar on your property, joining a solar community program may provide you with the sustainable energy alternative you are searching for. But like with anything, you have to be mindful of the advantages and disadvantages.

Jack Cliff Electrical does not presently engage in solar community initiatives, but we think that this information can be helpful for some of you. 

What is the Solar Community?

Solar Community is solar energy shared by community members. The energy is generated via a local solar system or community facility. The solar systems are usually constructed on the public or conjoint property, and the power is provided via two models for community members: Ownership or subscription.

Community solar participation is when the member of the community buys a part of the system panels. The quantity of panels depends on the yearly use of energy by the owner and covers up to 100% of their total energy consumption. 

The SRECs and the Federal Tax Credit would still be received since you own a part of the system. This approach is often harder to manage and maintain. It may also be a barrier for those who cannot pay the initial expense.

Pros of Ownership Model

  • You still have many of the advantages of having a solar system
  • You have a beneficial effect on the environment

Cons of Ownership Model

  • It may be challenging to manage and maintain the ownership model
  • It may be costly
  • Community solar in all locations is not available

The subscription approach is another way of participating with community solar. That’s when a third party develops and owns a system from which you will buy electricity. The negotiated rate of electricity plus administrative costs is charged to you. Registration and invoicing are carried out by a third party or a service provider.

Pros of Subscription Model

  • This is a cheaper method to benefit from the environmental advantages of solar
  • The price of kWh is typically lower than other rates available
  • Usually simple to choose and choose

Cons of Ownership Model

  • You will have no access to any of the solar tax advantages
  • You have nothing to possess
  • Administrative fees will apply
  • Community solar in all locations is not available

In all situations, you get the energy share and reasonable feed-in tariffs.

Who’s Suitable for Solar Community?

For those who cannot go solar, whether that’s the financial means or space limitations, solar community makes the power accessible.

These are the situations that make sense for participation in the solar community:

  • Your property has less than optimal barriers for a solar system – shadow, space, roof direction, etc.
  • You have no house or building.
  • There is a relocation in your near future.
  • You reside in a condominium or multi-tenant establishment.
  • You cannot afford a solar system of your own 

How a Typical Solar Community Works

The standard solar community set-up may be illustrated in five easy stages:

  • A group of individuals or an organization of third parties agrees to construct a central solar system.
  • The system constructor will look for subscribers or owners.
  • The subscriber or owner receives a part of the production of the system.
  • This generation of electricity flows straight to the utility business. Credit is subsequently issued to your account.
  • You switch on your lights and utilize the energy the community shared.

How do you compare community solar to solar installation at home?

Owning a solar installation on your house takes place when the homeowner covers the entire cost of the initial system. The owner assumes full responsibility for the design, including maintenance and repairs, once the installation is done (outside of any warranties). However, the owner has all financial advantages, such as tax credit and efficiency gains.

Solar Panel Installation Pros: 

  • You may get all the financial advantages of solar production, including tax rebates, SREC revenue, and free energy.
  • You have a physical asset that increases the value of your house.
  • The installation of a solar system is feasible almost anywhere on your property. Only in certain states and localities is Community solar permitted

Solar Panel Installation Cons: 

  • The first installation expenses must be paid for is quite expensive.
  • You are responsible for the total repair and maintenance.
  • You must own the property to install the solar system and put the solar panels on a suitable courtyard or roof.