All About Community Solar – its features, benefits, and operation

Community Solar

Community solar is a solar-electric system that allows several community members to have access to power through a set of central solar panels.

How does it work?

The panels and other solar equipment are installed in a central location, and the community members then share the produced energy. The solar array is owned by the community or by a third party. The members receive credit for their power consumption and pay the bill monthly.

There are four common types of how community solar operates, including:

Utility-sponsored

A utility company owns and manages a solar farm. The company can either sell or lease a portion of the produced energy to consumers who will pay it monthly according to their electricity consumption or what they have agreed upon by the utility. It can be either at a fixed rate for a period of time or can be as long as 20 years.

On-bill crediting

The on-bill crediting set-up allows the customers or community members to invest in a portion of the local solar farm. In return, they get a monthly credit of their share of generated power, which comes in the form of monetary or offset to their electricity consumption.

Special Purpose Entities (SPEs)

This approach allows companies and individuals to work together as a business entity to form and develop a solar community project. The business can plan, install, and own the facility, then coordinate with the local utility to distribute benefits to costumers.

Non-profit sponsored

Private donors fund a community solar in areas where people have low-income and cannot afford to purchase a solar system.

What are the benefits of community solar?

Renters and people living in condos and multiple buildings can still enjoy solar power.

Not owning your own house does not prevent you from aiming to go greener with your power usage. Even if you are not allowed to put up solar panels, you still can use energy coming from the sun with community solar.

Homes not suitable for solar panel installation can still power their homes using solar energy.

Some roofs cannot be installed with solar panels due to their orientation, shading issues, structure, and stability. But with community solar, these are no longer obstacles for homeowners to power their house using solar energy.

It does require maintenance.

Community solar removes the burden of maintenance from the homeowners. Because utility companies or 3rd parties manage it, they are the ones responsible for the solar panels maintenance and not the subscribers.

It has a lesser cost but the same benefits of solar power.

Homeowners need not buy solar panels but can still use electricity generated by the sun when they are subscribed to community solar. They need to pay monthly dues according to their consumed power.

Homeowners receive the credit according to the power returned to the grid.

This set-up is known as virtual net metering. The subscribers of community solar are given credit on their utility bills for their share of excess power that is fed back to the grid.

Community solar in Australia is rapidly growing with initiatives from the government and private sectors. Around 30% of Australian households do not still utilise solar energy for reasons like they only rent, their roofs are not suited for solar panels, or they cannot afford to purchase and maintain solar panels. The community solar funded by the government and non-profit sectors deals with this problem and helps in gearing towards making Australia a renewable source powered country.

If you want to learn more about solar energy and solar panels, please visit our website at https://www.solarshoponline.com.au/, or call us today at 1300 620 290.

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