Climate Solutions: Going solar when you can’t do it at home

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— Kate Warner

Part of the vision of a 100 percent renewable energy Island includes large, community solar arrays around the Island.

What is community solar?

  • Most important, it is a way that you can get your electricity from solar panels, even if your site is too shaded or you don’t have enough money for solar at your house or business.
  • Community-shared solar panels are larger projects, often funded by third-party developers who take advantage of tax incentives. (They get additional incentive money for making it a community solar project.)
  • The credits from the power generated are applied to your electrical account. You get at least a 10 percent discount on your bill. You say how many kilowatt-hours you would like, based on your annual usage.

Going a step further

  • Community solar arrays might also be installed in subdivisions where there are a group of homes clustered together.
  • A microgrid could be formed so that the houses are all getting power from the solar array. If batteries are added, the system could then provide power for critical loads during prolonged power failures.

Keep an eye out for Cape or Vineyard community solar opportunities! Either is a great way to add more solar to our regional electrical supply, and gets you a discount on your electrical bill besides.

An Edey Foundation grant supports this effort. Visit islandclimateaction.org/climate-action.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. I signed up for community solar via Arcadia, a sustainability focused electricity retailer. From here in Oak Bluffs, they matched me with a new solar project in Wareham. I’ve seen the project and allegedly it’s up and running, but it hasn’t shown up in my billing yet. Arcadia says they’re waiting for Eversource and that sometimes takes a few months.

    Also, I read the info about billing a little more closely. It sounds like I will receive 10% of the savings achieved by the solar project, not 10% off my total bill. So I expect the savings to be much smaller than 10%, but as I said I haven’t seen real numbers yet.

  2. Every community solar project has their own terms. A 10% discount off your total is typical right now. I would contact them and ask them to clarify what they are offering and whether it will be the same throughout the year or vary, depending on solar production. (In the winter, we don’t have as much sun so the array will not produce as much power.)

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