Falling solar prices and continuous increases in investment by homes and businesses have catalyzed innovation in solar finance. With a majority of potential solar customers not having a suitable site to install a solar system, shared solar is providing access to new audiences and providing new business opportunities to electric utilities.
In a shared solar system, multiple subscribers own portions of a large solar array. The payments from electricity sales are then divided based on the portion owned by each subscriber. The developer of the array can be a utility or a private entity selling power to a utility through a power purchase agreement. Multiple cooperative, municipal, and investor-owned utilities currently have shared solar programs in the US.
Shared solar systems can provide multiple benefits compared to customer-sited systems, including lower cost per watt, broader ratepayer participation, and system siting to maximize grid benefits. Shared solar is growing rapidly across the US with utilities independently implementing programs and states passing legislation.
For more information on shared solar, see:
- Community Solar Gardens presentation | online – CERTs
- A Guide to Community Solar – US. Dept. of Energy
- Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs – Interstate Renewable Energy Council
- Shared Solar Program Comparison Chart – Interstate Renewable Energy Council
- A Guide for Community Shared Solar Programs in Michigan Communities – Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association
- Shared Renewables HQ – Vote Solar http://sharedrenewables.org/