If you one of the growing number of Americans who rent a home, you might think you are being left out of the solar power trend. But a new movement to what is called “community solar” is here to provide for your green energy demands. So exactly what is community solar and how as a renter or apartment owner can it help you get your options?
Community solar isn’t a new idea, but it has grown in movement in the recent years with California becoming the newest member to join the bandwagon. It works like this: For those who don’t have the capability or the option to apply solar panels to their home or apartment, private investors or energy companies allow to people to derive energy from panels that are not on their own roof, but usually situated on vast tracks of land. Utilities are able to leverage larger areas of land and thus drive down their overall costs and allowing renters to access solar at a cheaper cost. The renter is able to reduce their energy bill, but cannot take the state and local tax credits usually associated with solar power.
In Northern California, for example, utility company PG&E plans to offer its customers the ability to buy one of two different options to fulfill their energy needs: Option 1 permits consumers to have 50 percent of their energy bills from community panels at a rate of $0.02 to $0.03 per kilowatt hour with a chance for that to drop if the program grows and expenses drop. Option 2 allows renters to derive 100 percent of their energy from community programs with the same rate guarantees. The other part of the PG & E can now 0.5 to 20 megawatts of power from customers in it zone to help set up its demands.
Community solar is a great option for anyone who wants to take control of where their energy comes from. Though you won’t be able to attain an extreme cost reductions, similar to one that might come from installing panels on your own home’s roof, participants can still be a part of a solar age and reduce their carbon footprint.
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