Saturday, April 13, 2024

How To Start A Community Solar Project

What Is A Solar Panel Farm

Starting your own solar power project

There are two main types of solar farms:

Solar photovoltaic power stations A number of solar panels are installed together to create a power plant.

CSP or Concentrated Solar Projects Mirrors are used as solar modules to reflect the sun into a central collector to absorb energy.

Either way, the solar power is connected by power line into an electricity grid, or power grid, owned by a utility company.

From those basic descriptions, solar farms differ in scale and purpose. See below:

What Are The Customer Benefits Of Community Solar

Community solar allows everyone to benefit from solar energy, even if they cant put panels on a rooftop. In areas where solar power is less expensive than traditionally generated electricity, consumers can save money on their monthly bills. If subscribers move to a new home within the same utility service territory or county, they can typically continue to benefit from their community solar share. Programs may also have options for selling or donating subscriptions.

How Much Solar Energy Do You Need

With community solar, you will be signing up for a share of the community solar projects capacity. Your shares solar output will vary from month-to-month, and usually be higher in summer, lower in winter. This means that in some months, your overall electricity costs may be more than they would have been without solar, while in others they will be lower. Over the course of a year, this balances out and allows most subscribers to save 5-15 percent on their annual electric bills.

Most community solar providers will recommend a subscription share that will meet close to 100 percent of your current annual electricity needs. However, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to ask to have a smaller or slightly larger share. For instance, if you expect your electricity to fall in the future, you may want to ask for a smaller share in the project this is usually easier to do this before signing up than after you subscribe. You dont want to be stuck paying for solar electricity that you dont need.

Similarly, if your electricity usage is likely to increase in the future, you may want to subscribe to a larger share. However, if you do soand dont end up using the extra electricityyou may not be able to recover those extra costs.

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Other Ways To Invest In The Solar Farm Industry

If you are not interested in setting up a solar farm, you can still specialize in the solar industry.

Here is a list of niche ideas:

  • Monitoring services

And this one: How Do You Know When Its Time to Sell Your Business? Its Not All About the Money.

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Benefits Of Community Solar

Washington Community Solar Projects to Open Soon

The main benefit of community solar is saving on power bills, especially in places with high electricity prices and abundant sunshine. However, the concept of sharing a solar array brings many other benefits, both technical and economic. These include:

Community solar is an easier alternative to installing your own solar power system. The project developer is responsible for financing, installation, operation and maintenance, and you can reduce your electricity bills by simply buying a share of the project or subscribing.

However, installing your own solar power system also brings many benefits. You save the full economic value of the electricity generated, for example. Onsite solar power also increases the value of homes and commercial buildings, and many incentive programs are only available when you buy solar panels directly.

If youre weighing each option, it can be helpful to get a free quote for a home solar installation. Fill out the form below to get connected with atop solar company near you.

All EcoWatch solar companies are pre-vetted for your convenience.

Also Check: What Will A 25 Watt Solar Panel Run

Solar Farm Return On Investment

Investing in solar energy or farms involves a lot of money.

Solar farm investment should be done cautiously and after a lot of financial planning, since starting a solar farm will mean you have to the investment of a minimum of $1 million.

The good news is that the ROI is worth the investment as the recurring revenue will pay dividends for years.

Instead of just using the electricity for powering your air conditioner or refrigerator, the solar panels will be used for creating power to be sold to the electricity utility. Thus, the power you make can be used by someone else, as well.

When you have solar panels on the roof, you have a second electricity meter. On your farm, you will have your first meter, as usual, and you will buy electricity from the utility like before. The second meter will measure the power the panels make. You will get paid by the utility for the power that goes through this meter. So when you have solar panels, you are not just a consumer, but you are a producer as well.

What Community Solar Is Not

Community solar is similar to, and often confused with, other types of clean energy electricity rates and incentives, such as:

EnergySage is the nation’s online community solar marketplace: when you sign up for a free account, we connect you with developers in your area offering local solar farm subscriptions to help you save money. Over 10 million people come to EnergySage each year to learn about, shop for and invest in solar. Start browsing projects near you today.

Enter your zip code to see solar quotes near you

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What Are The Different Types Of Solar Farms

There are two main types of solar farms: utility-scale and community solar.

Heres what you should know about each of them and how they differ.

Utility-scale solar farm

Utility-scale solar farms refer to massive areas of land where solar panels stretch beyond the horizon.

These installations consist of hundreds of thousands of solar panels that absorb energy from the sun, generate an electric current, and distribute that power on high-voltage power lines.

The electricity then travels along those power lines to the electricity grid and eventually finds its way to your home.

Community-scale solar farm

These solar farms are small-scale solar facilities that generate around 5 MW of electricity for a local community of homes and businesses.

Whoever participates in the program shares the power.

Residents may see a reduction in the electricity bill depending on the number of residents and the amount of power produced.

Heres how a community-scale farm works.

First, solar panels are installed in a large, open area of the neighborhood that receives maximum exposure to sunlight.

Next, solar energy is fed into the larger electricity grid for the region.

Finally, individuals who joined the solar program see their energy bill adjusted for the amount of energy generated in relation to the size of their home.

Scaling Solar As A Climate Solution With Groundswell

US investor to start solar energy project in West Pokot County

Because of Georgias energy laws and regulations, communities have to partner with their local utility to develop or participate in a community solar project. A great way to get started can include working with organizations like Groundswell, a nonprofit that builds community power by connecting clean energy with economic development, affordability, and quality of life. Groundswell has already developed multiple equitable community solar programs that are now serving more than 3,500 customers while providing more than $1.75 million in clean energy savings.

The good news is that the community solar market in Georgia is in such an early stage that its possible for leaders like the people who are part of the Drawdown Georgia community to shape its course. Here are five ideas for sharing power and savings with community solar in Georgia:

  • Focus on Energy Democracy: Georgia has three types of utilities: investor-owned , municipal, and rural electric cooperative. Municipal utilities are typically governed by the Mayor, City Council, and other people who are accountable to residents, while rural cooperatives are governed by Boards that are elected by their member customers. Theyre designed to listen to what their customers and communities want and need, so ask them to work with you to develop a community solar program if they dont already have one.

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    Is It An Ownership

    Will you pay for the system up-front with cash or take out a loan to purchase your share of the community solar project , or make ongoing payments for the electricity it generates under a subscription model? Subscription-based programs are by far the most popular option, so dont be surprised if there arent ownership-based programs available in your area.

    Option : Join A Community Solar Project

    A community solar project is a large solar array located on otherwise unusable land near your area. The solar array is maintained and managed by a company and the electricity produced is sold to the surrounding community.

    There are two types of projects. One is a subscription service and requires a monthly premium, where others are complete buy-in projects where you own individual solar panels in the array. When you receive your electricity bill at the end of the month, you’ll see the electricity your community solar panels produced credited to your account.

    Community solar projects have been steadily increasing in popularity as the cost of solar power declines. This is an excellent way to opt-in to solar power without having to physically install solar panels on a roof. If you move somewhere else within the area, you can update your address and not worry about losing your solar investment.

    Find companies offering solar community projects in the USA here.

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    Starting A Solar Farm Business From Scratch

    When you start a solar power business from scratch, you need to learn a lot about the industry. You must have knowledge about installation, different products available, and solutions for business owners and homes. It is also about building a good relationship with the suppliers and different sales consultants.

    When you start a solar farm, market research and feasibility are quite important. Services of a solar firm are useful for the following industries:

    • Hotels
    • High schools, colleges, and universities
    • Blue-chip companies
    • Financial institutions, insurance companies, and banks
    • Religious organizations
    • Publishing Houses or Printing Press
    • Contractors, developers, and real estate owners
    • Research and development companies

    Option : Install Solar For You And A Few Others

    In Massachusetts, utilitys community solar plan leaves ...

    Not everyone is open to the investment of solar panels. Luckily they don’t have to be. If you own your apartment, you can start a single or joint owner solar project. Gather those who want solar and are willing to invest and take a proposal to your condo association. In most cases, they’ll let you use the roof for solar panels – sometimes asking a small fee for the space.

    You and your partners will bear all costs for the installation and upkeep. You will also reap all rewards and share the electricity produced only among yourselves.

    This option is simple to implement, and all you need to do is convince the association. A good incentive is to offer any excess electricity to the common areas of the building.

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    Start Your Solar Journey Today With Energysage

    EnergySage is the nations leading online solar marketplace: using our Community Solar Marketplace, you can compare local options, get a quick community solar savings estimate, and seamlessly subscribe to an open project in your area. Over 10 million people come to EnergySage each year to learn about, shop for and invest in solar. Compare your community solar options today today to see how much solar can save you.

    Ways To Invest In And Start A Solar Farm Business In 2022

    It shouldnt come as a surprise that The Kickass Entrepreneur is writing about how to start a solar energy farm. It combines some of Jeffs favorite investments: real assets, infrastructure, renewable energy, and a steady stream of reliable cash flow. He has also mentioned earning passive income even by just doing surveys such as in Prize Rebel, Survey Junkie, and Swagbucks.

    Australia is known for its abundant supply of sunshine. Brian Kelso from BSK Data & Electrical Pty Ltd, a local Sydney electrician, said that he has seen many homes in residential areas go from having power bills in excess of over $1000 per billing cycle to actually earning money from the power of the sun instead.

    Real assets can be a rather complex topic. If you dont have time to dive into it you can always employ the help of an essay writer from EssayWritingService or similar websites.

    But heres a short version: a real asset is a physical asset that an investor or business owns and is value-generating. Some examples of real assets include:

    Areal asset is a physical asset that an investor or business owns and is value-generating. Some examples of real assets include:

    • Farmland

    Investing in a solar energy farm has the following benefits:

    There has been rapid growth in the solar industry over the last 10 years.

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    Making Solar Affordable To All

    To cut costs, BHSF negotiated the price and bought solar panels from a local installer. Further, BHSF manages the administrative and financial matters in connection with the panel ownership, eliminating customary markups and profit margins.

    “We are member owned, managed and financed,” said Marx. “We cut out the third-party financier and brought costs down enough to make purchasing panels in the system affordable.”

    Another way they brought the cost down was by paying the land lease through energy credits. The land lease was budgeted at a total of $70,000 over the 25-year term. Instead, BHSF LLC bought 5 percent of the panels, which corresponded to the same value, and the output of those panels gets credited to Coxs electric bill. This cost the members only $25,000 upfront, a savings of $45,000, which more than made up for not selling the RECs.

    “The landowner gets same amount annually from 5 percent of the projects output,” according to Marx, “but it costs participants far less to buy the panels up front rather than paying per year for 25 years.”

    Find The Land For Space

    How Our Community Solar Works

    Solar farm companies need space to set up the panels. Thus, there is a requirement for land to get started.

    Often a question arises related to the area required for a 1 MW solar power plant. At least 15 acres of land is necessary to start. Those who have the capital ready can purchase the land straightaway. If you do not wish to purchase, you might be able to lease the land. However, the leasing agreement should be for at least 50 years. This will ensure there will not be any need to dismantle the solar panels too soon.

    You can also invest in a shared community solar farm where you can pay for a part of the land of the solar panel only.

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    How Do You Remove Solar Panels

    Believe it or not, one of most tedious part of the whole solar panel process is removal.

    If youre deciding to start a solar farm, then youll want to put solar panel removal in the contact with the solar company.

    That way, youve already determined who is responsible for the removal of the panels and the cost of the removal at the end of their life.

    Covering the dismantling costs early in the contract will protect the landowner from any additional costs that may be associated with the removal process.

    How Can You Get Involved In Community Solar

    If your homes roof is heavily shaded or poorly oriented for a solar installation, youre not alone. A 2008 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that only 22% to 27% of residential roofing in the US is ideal for on-site photovoltaic systems.1

    If your home wont support an on-site solar system, youre a perfect candidate for a community solar project. Check with your local utility provider or planning board to see if theres already a community solar operation in place. If there isnt, your local solar installer may know of SPE projects in your area that can provide an avenue for investment.

    If none of these options exist in your area, start talking to your neighbors. Chances are many of the people in your local community will be just as excited as you are for a community solar project. Hundreds of communities have started their own projects from scratch it all starts with a little interest and a big idea. NREL and the city of Portland have collaborated to create a guidebook that can help you make your community solar project a reality.

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    The Benefits Of A Solar Farm Business In America And Canada

    Undoubtedly, solar power can help in making money for a long time. Here are a few more ways of making money from a solar power business:

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