Bowen on three steps states can take to fuel community solar growth
Community solar is on the move. Just a few weeks ago, Minnesota’s Xcel Energy opened up a solicitation for new community solar projects. Expecting approximately 100 megawatts to be proposed, it received more than four times that amount.
There is good reason for the momentum. By enabling customers to purchase, lease, or otherwise share the benefits of a portion of a local solar array, shared solar vastly expands the market for consumer-driven solar power. Despite rooftop solar’s impressive growth in recent years, the fact remains that nearly four out of five residents cannot install solar panels on their own roof due to financial, structural, or solar resource issues. The commercial market faces similar constraints, with many businesses located in buildings that they lease or that are physically unsuitable for a solar array. A well-designed shared solar program breaks down those barriers and connects more Americans with the solar power they want.
The shared solar model holds great promise, but to date few states have established the right policies for fueling its growth. Here are three things states can do today to bring the benefits of community-supported renewable energy to their constituents.