What happens when you really want solar but the obstacles seem too great? You may not have a suitable space. Or there may be a tree blocking your roof. Or you live in a condominium where you don’t have your own roof.
This is where promising approaches for increasing customer access, such as shared solar, come in. They create opportunities for customers to get the benefit of distributed solar without putting it on their own roof. With shared solar projects (also referred to as “community solar”) customers either own or rent a portion of a larger project that is off site and then receive a credit for the generation on their electricity bill. Often, the customer sees a cost premium in the near term and then some economic benefit for the subscription, usually through rates that stay steady rather than increase over time.
Bringing Shared Solar to Scale
Right now though, shared solar projects and other shared renewables programs have not been able to scale. While the largest program in the country today is 20 MW, only a handful are greater than 1 MW. The majority of these projects are between 30 and 100 kW. So that means most programs have between ~40 customers on the low end and ~600 customers on the high end.