Category: Community Solar
When developing a community solar field, we found ourselves running into a theme of "going slow to go fast." The want for solar is moving faster than the processes, policies, and programs can be developed and brought up-to-date. It is essential that we as experts, take the time to work with cities and villages to develop a solar field and Community Solar program that will meet their needs.
As SEIA stated, community solar is the only option for people like renters, those with shading obstructions, roofing issues, or have trouble with affording solar. (www.seia.org/initiatives/community-solar) With more communities participating in a Community Solar program, it can help potential customers as well as be a great business venture for energy companies.
In a recent project, we installed a 265 kW solar field in Springfield, Illinois. The goal of this project was to gain buy-in for a Community Solar program. The City wanted to install a solar field within their budget to "test" the interest of solar, with hopes to add onto the solar field in the future. We worked closely with the City to develop their system and throughout the process gained buy-in from community members.
The Community Solar projects we have worked on, including Springfield, have given us a platform to educate many people from beginning to end. We found that a lot of concern toward solar installation stems from lack of education in areas such as the aesthetics to the safety concerns. From the developer side, we have run into outdated policies.
Throughout my presentation, I want to guide others on how to best work with a community to develop a Community Solar program. From sorting through policies to meeting with the Administration and community members.
While our customers are in the driver's seat as to the final scope of a project, it is essential we are co-piloting to get the best possible outcome for now and the future.
Eric Peterman– Chief Executive Officer, GRNE Solar