So you finally decided to try living in a solar-powered home. But did you know that installing PV panels on your roof is actually not the only way to harness solar energy for your household needs?
In this article, we’ll take a look at community solar, how it works, and how it compares to installing your own solar panels at home. First things first, though. Right now, you might be asking, what is community solar?
In a nutshell, it’s a system that allows you to tap into the output of a nearby solar farm through your subscription, effectively allowing you to utilize solar energy at home without the need to install your own solar panels. We already know the wonders of having your own power-generating solar panels at home, but here are some of the reasons why subscribing to community solar might be an even better idea:
It’s good for renters
There are concerns regarding the accessibility of rooftop solar, particularly because not everyone is allowed to get them. Those who are just renting apartments or leasing office spaces may be prohibited to install solar panels, if they even have access to the roof.
Furthermore, smaller homes may not have enough roof space for a viable PV panel setup. Community solar is inclusive in a way that virtually anyone can subscribe to nearby solar farms — even renters.
No aesthetic compromises
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to build an energy-efficient house while keeping its visual and aesthetic integrity. Case in point: traditional PV panels are not exactly easy on the eyes. This is another benefit of going the community solar way.
Your community solar subscription will never affect the look of your home. It will not require you to install any sort of receiver that may be an eyesore, since your solar power allocation will simply be coursed through your regular power lines.
No huge investment needed
Another advantage of opting for community solar is that it will cut down the usually hefty costs of installing solar panels on your home, unless you can get a federal solar tax credit. There are no upfront costs aside from your initial subscription since you won’t have to purchase panels in community solar. In this business model, the owners or operators of the solar farm will be the ones to shell out a huge investment to build the power-generating farm.
Since every farm will ideally have hundreds of subscribers to split the cost, you will not be overcharged just so the farm owners can recoup their investment. It may be the most sustainable mode of distributing solar power to date, and the only one that wouldn’t burden you with the need for a huge sum of the initial investment.
No upkeep/maintenance necessary
Choosing community solar will also free you of any responsibility regarding the upkeep or maintenance of the panels that will be generating solar power for you. If you purchase and install your own solar panels, you will be responsible when it breaks down or whenever it requires cleaning. In community solar, it will be the sole responsibility of the project developer to maintain the whole farm at little cost to you.
Finally, there is simply more flexibility in community solar. Installing solar panels on your roof is a more or less permanent decision that you will have to live with for at least a couple of years. If you end up moving out of your current house, you will need to have those panels uninstalled and reinstalled in your new place. Meanwhile, it is very easy to opt-out of your community solar subscription, especially if you are simply trying to move your subscription to a new area.
In the end, all efforts to live and consume power sustainably will be greatly appreciated by the planet. However, community solar just gives you more bang for your buck while removing all the usual hindrances that discourage people from trying solar power. Hopefully, this article made you realize that making the switch need not be that complicated.