Even though rooftop solar panels are getting cheaper, the cost of purchasing a solar-panel system for your home can still be prohibitively expensive. Because these dedicated solar-panel systems serve single homes, their purchase and maintenance costs are incurred solely by homeowners. Community-solar farms, however, allow renters and homeowners to reap the many benefits of solar power, without incurring the costs of purchasing and installing solar panels on their homes. Instead of having to buy and maintain a dedicated solar system, customers of solar farms subscribe to them and receive many of the benefits of solar energy. This is an attractive benefit that has drawn many customers to community solar. There are many other good reasons to join community-solar farms and gardens. Below some reasons people have decided to join community solar—they are environmental, financial, and ethical in nature.
Environmental Impact of Solar
Going solar is first and foremost an environmental choice. Because conventional electricity comes from fossil fuels, our reliance on conventional electricity is bad for the environment. Homes on the conventional grid are typically powered by coal-fired plants, which use tremendous amounts of water and contribute heavily to air pollution. The sun’s energy is abundant, free, and recurring, making it easy to capture and harness. Solar energy also replaces other non-renewable energy sources like oil and gas that cause greenhouse emissions. In theory, the results are lower temperatures due to fewer greenhouse emissions and cleaner air due to fewer pollutants.
How Does Solar Encourage Savings?
Community solar is not just for the environmentally minded but for the financially conscientious too. Many people can’t afford to have dedicated rooftop solar panels. But if you have an electricity bill and live in a community solar service area, you can sign up for community solar. These savings come to you without the expense of maintaining your own solar panels. The savings are immediate. When you receive your conventional electricity bill, you pay it off using solar credits from your subscription to the community solar farm. Depending on where you live, you stand to save 10 to 15 percent over your conventional electricity billing. Many community-solar subscribers also like the idea of cutting ties with their utility companies. Former customers are no longer subject to billing surprises and poor customer service.
Why Does Community Solar Work?
One of the beauties of community solar is that the arrangement is itself a reminder that we’re all connected through Earth’s resources and that we hold them in common. Community-solar subscribers draw energy from the same solar farm or solar garden in the same way they benefit from the sun’s energy and from locally sourced water. The people who join with community solar understand that their environmental decisions impact others. They are community minded and recognize that our environmental decisions today will have long-term consequences for the Earth and for those who will live in the future. Community solar helps bring out the best in us while helping to safeguard our precious resources.