When it comes to solar energy implementation in Michigan, it has been estimated that less than half of the homes and businesses in Michigan are good sites for solar energy due to shading or roof orientation. Renters and condo owners do not own property that can be used for solar installations. Also, solar energy systems often require a large upfront cost that makes it difficult for many homeowners, institutions, or businesses to get involved.
A new concept—Community Solar—may be a solution to all these barriers.
Community Solar is defined as a solar electric or renewable energy system that has multiple owners or shareholders that receive some benefit because of their investment in the project. The actual generation of renewable energy does not occur at the customer’s site. Instead, the customer subscribes to a portion of a shared facility (much like a resident may rent a plot in a community garden). The power generated results in the subscriber receiving their portion of the benefit based on their investment. By building a larger scale system in an optimal sunny location, the cost to the investor can be lower, and the benefits higher, than the typical residential or small commercial installation.
Community Solar is getting a great deal of attention, with many states researching barriers and introducing appropriate legislation to enable Community Solar projects for interested citizens. In Michigan, the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) has been awarded a grant from the Michigan Energy Office, Renewable Energy Demonstration Program to perform a Community Solar PV Garden Feasibility Study. The final report will be due in September, 2013.
Oak Electric Service is one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical and renewable energy contractors. If you are contemplating making energy improvements to your home or business, give us a call at (800) 964-7070. We invite you to visit our website at www.oakelectric.com to learn more about us.