What is Community Solar Going to Cost?
For many people, owning a private solar photovoltaic (PV) generation system is simply not feasible because of costs, siting issues, or housing type (i.e. rental properties or multifamily housing units). Community solar programs—sometimes called solar gardens—provide one way to increase access to the solar market, reduce up-front costs, and allow for optimal siting.
A community shared solar array allows multiple customers to purchase electricity generated by a solar project on a monthly basis. There are several models for this type of program. In most cases, a utility has ownership of the PV system and ratepayers pay a fixed monthly fee based on how much electricity they typically consume and what amount they want to purchase. Individual investors can also support a community solar project by structuring it as a business. Non-profits have also developed a community solar model in which the organization’s supporters help finance shares of a PV system through donations.