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What is Community Solar and Why is it Getting Federal Funding?

What is Community Solar and Why is it Getting Federal Funding - Certrec

Solar energy is becoming popular in the United States, and community solar is growing rapidly, especially due to progressive initiatives by the federal government. Community solar is playing an instrumental role in achieving sustainability and is about to become more common because of a fund worth $7 billion, part of which will go to community solar through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, connected to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

What is Community Solar?

The U.S. Department of Energy defines community solar as “any solar project or purchasing program, within a geographic area, in which the benefits of a solar project flow to multiple customers such as individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and other groups.”

Community solar is based on large solar farms or gardens filled with solar panels that harness huge amounts of energy. The whole community can access this energy by participating in the project. As a member of the community, you may buy or lease a certain number of solar panels, or you may purchase the amount of electricity you require.

So, there are two basic models offered by community solar projects: the ownership model and the subscription model.

  • Ownership Model: When you purchase solar panels, it is called an ownership model, and you get energy credits based on the number of panels you own.
  • Subscription Model: You subscribe to purchase a specific amount of electricity, according to your needs, from the project.

Community solar is a good way to for everyone in a community to have access to solar energy, and can be a great option for people who are unable to buy solar panels or are not home owners.

Pros of Community Solar

  • Lower electricity bills,
  • You don’t need a roof or own property to use solar,
  • No installation required,
  • No damage to your roof,
  • You can choose the amount of solar power you require.

Cons of Community Solar

  • You have to pay a monthly energy allowance,
  • You will not get ownership incentives,
  • A lot of land is required for solar farms,
  • Community solar is not available everywhere.
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Why is Community Solar Getting Federal Funding?

According to Solar United Neighbors, the most important pro-solar law passed by the Congress is the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. The IRA, signed by President Biden in August 2022, has a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, through which the federal government plans to help community solar get funds.

According to Inside Climate News, the EPA has said that the fund, worth $7 billion, will award 60 grants and it “will prioritize delivering financial and technical assistance to projects that deploy residential and community solar, associated storage technologies, and related upgrades.”

Experts say that the most benefit will go to the states that already have community solar programs.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Certrec. This content is meant for informational purposes only.