WHAT IS COMMUNITY SOLAR?

Community solar is a convenient way to enjoy the advantages of using solar energy as a group. It makes it possible to invest in solar energy together, which is helpful when you’re unable to install solar panels on your property.

Here just some of the benefits of going co-op with solar energy.

DON’T NEED TO OWN A HOME

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 49 percent of households are unable to host conventional solar systems. Many of these are rental properties or do not have the space to accommodate solar array. Community solar allows individuals to join a shared solar farm, which is located off-site, typically on municipal land or brownfields.

This means that renters and condo owners may be able to reap the rewards of using solar energy. This allows for great savings on monthly utility bills.

Community investment in a solar farm can also aid economic development, attracting businesses to the area to save operating costs. And local utility companies benefit: a consolidated solar array eases stress on the grid, and streamlines operations.

NO INSTALLATION OR UPFRONT COSTS

When a homeowner decides to install solar panels, the process can be challenging. Panels are meant to be placed in a sunny spot and at a certain angle. Although long-term savings is a benefit, the upfront investment can be costly. Community solar helps a homeowner avoid both of these issues. No panels are needed. Instead, homeowners purchase a subscription, which provides electricity at a discounted rate.

LESS ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION

We all know fossil fuels pollute the environment. When you choose solar as a means of power, you’re reducing your environmental impact. Community solar programs help remove the technical and financial barriers, making renewable energy available to all. And it’s catching on! The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that shared solar will account for up to half of the overall solar energy market share in the U.S.

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NET ENERGY METERING 3.0 INFORMATION

Net Energy Metering 3.0 (NEM 3.0) is the incoming law created by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The new tariffs and fees will impact both residential and commercial solar systems built in California. 

As this notice is posted in November of 2022, the Proposed Decision from the CPUC outlining the proposed NEM 3.0 terms is expected soon. This comes after a year’s delay. Once the new agreement is finalized and passed into law, there will exist a designation of the deadline under which new systems will continue to qualify for NEM 2.0 rates. 

The new NEM 3.0 rates will be designed to lower the value of electricity during the daytime hours, when solar is producing, and increase the value of electricity during the evening hours, when solar homes and businesses purchase electricity. In short, NEM 3.0 will create a “sell low, buy high” proposition to new solar system owners. 

To Californians looking to install a solar system on their home or commercial building, the NEM 2.0 rates will be preferred. As of this post, the solar industry does not know the details of how different the NEM 3.0 rates will be from the NEM 2.0 rates. 

Please use the HES Solar website as a resource to learn more, and please take our offer to speak with an HES Solar Energy Consultant at no obligation.

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Robert Laverty

Senior Energy Consultant, Residential

Robert Laverty joined the HES team in the summer of 2018, bringing his ten years of solar design experience and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound with him. Robert is dedicated to finding solutions to help families produce and store electricity in order to reduce their reliance on grid power as well as help reduce their household’s carbon footprint. Robert’s experience as a newspaper editor as well as his involvement with the sustainability-focused Rocky Mountain Institute drives him to constantly seek out innovative ways to meet energy needs through renewable resources as well as helps him share those ideas with Southern California homeowners. When not at work or volunteering time with his church or community, Robert spends time with his wife and two sons or pursues his passion of fly fishing.
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