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Community Solar

Harvesting Sunshine Together: Unveiling the Power of 'Community Solar' in California's Shared Energy Gardens

Imagine living in a community where each neighbor cultivates their own fresh vegetables, and together, you share the abundance to promote healthy living. Now, envision replacing those veggies with solar panels, allowing everyone to produce and share energy for the collective benefit – that's the essence of 'Community Solar.'

California, being one of the fifteen states actively promoting shared solar, embraces the concept of 'solar gardens.' These communal spaces harness sunlight to generate electricity, making 'solar gardens' an ideal solution for those eager to join the clean energy revolution alongside their neighbors.

How Community Solar Works

In a 'community solar' setup, your system is typically located on a piece of land owned by one of your 'solar neighbors.' The generated electricity often costs less than what you would pay to your utility. Community solar operates through various ownership or subscription models, facilitated by a billing system known as Virtual Net Metering (VNM), akin to Net Metering for rooftop solar.

Using VNM, homeowners receive Net Metering credits from a renewable energy project, even if their meters are not physically connected. These credits, equal to or nearly equal to the utility company's electricity cost, effectively reduce their overall usage. For example, if you contribute to a solar community producing 10 kWh of electricity, your usage will be reduced by 10 kWh.

Who Benefits From Community Solar

Community solar caters to small businesses and homeowners seeking the financial and environmental advantages of solar without the responsibility of maintaining an individual system. It's also an excellent option for those with homes unsuitable for solar due to shading or for renters and residents in multi-dwelling properties.

Financial Benefits of California Community Solar

The costs of community solar vary based on ownership or subscription preferences. Some community solar initiatives even allow you to sell Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Thorough research is encouraged to make informed decisions.

Embarking on the 'Community Solar' journey requires teamwork, with neighbors uniting for a common goal that benefits everyone, present and future.

Tips to Promote Community Solar in Your Neighborhood:

  1. Engage with Legislators: Meet with legislators to emphasize the importance of the solar industry, showcasing its job creation, energy alternatives, and eco-friendly solutions.
  2. Advocate for Policies: Be an advocate for policies promoting and encouraging community solar projects, particularly for multifamily buildings, making solar accessible for everyone.
  3. Explore Solar Options: Understand all available solar options for California, such as solar co-ops, solar gardens, and utility-sponsored solar.
  4. Utilize Solar Tools: Leverage online solar tools and community access channels for valuable information.
  5. Educational Outreach: : Communities can initiate educational outreach programs, exploring financing options and available community solar programs throughout the state.
  6. Local Officials Engagement: Encourage local officials to simplify permit approval processes for standard residential systems, possibly offering electronic or over-the-counter review options.
  7. Cap Permit Costs: Advocate for capping total permit costs at a flat fee for standard residential systems, promoting affordability.
  8. Clear Checklists: Develop and share clear and simple checklists outlining all requirements for solar installation on community websites.
  9. Solar Coordinator: Designate a solar coordinator, a neighborhood representative responsible for outreach and internal coordination within community departments.
  10. Experienced Installers: Ensure that your installer has substantial experience in the solar industry, such as Wing Solar & Wood Energy, Inc., a leader in the California solar energy industry for over 40 years.

Embark on the 'Community Solar' journey with the support of your neighbors and trusted solar experts. At Wing Solar & Wood Energy, Inc., we've been leading the way in California's solar energy industry for over four decades. Join us in shaping a sustainable future.