- The community shared solar concept, through which individuals and businesses can buy a part of a large array and have the output credited to their utility bill, is taking off in Colorado, the Denver Post reports. The Denver area has nine solar gardens built and ten more in development. Colorado has 30 projects built or in development.
- The concept allows those without solar-suitable rooftops to buy in. Xcel Energy, Colorado’s dominant electricity provider, said it has 14 operating solar gardens and 530 participating customers in its service area, with 98% of the arrays’ output subscribed.
- Colorado passed the first state law, in 2001, facilitating community shared solar. Now 58 utilities in 22 states offer or are planning programs. SunShare and Clean Energy Collective (CEC), the leading U.S. shared solar developers, began in Colorado. SunShare is now expanding in Minnesota and CEC is working in Massachusetts.
A just-released National Renewable Energy Labs study finds at least 49% of U.S. households and 48% of businesses do not have solar-suitable rooftops.
“By opening the market to these customers, shared solar could represent 32%–49% of the distributed PV market in 2020, thereby leading to growing cumulative PV deployment growth in 2015–2020 of 5.5–11.0 GW, and representing $8.2–$16.3 billion of cumulative investment,” the report reads.
“The biggest trend for solar at utilities is community solar,” Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) Senior Research Manager Becky Campbell recently told Utility Dive.
“It seems to be resonating at every utility I talk to,” Campbell, co-author of the report, "Expanding Solar Access Through Utility-led Community Solar," said.
“Duke Energy sees community solar as an opportunity to bring renewable energy to customers who may not have direct access to solar power,” spokesperson Randy Wheeless reported. “We are actively looking at ways to incorporate it into our system.”