How Does Community Solar Work in Texas?

August 17, 2023

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How does community solar work in Texas? If you live in the state and are interested in solar, this is a fair question! Community solar allows you to invest in solar power for less cost than private ownership. On the other hand, it’s vital that you understand how it works before signing up!

Community solar allows multiple individuals or businesses to invest in a solar energy project. Each investor then receives credit on their electricity bills for the energy generated by their share of the solar system.

This is just a quick answer to the question, how does community solar work in Texas? If you’d like to learn about this process in detail, keep reading. This process is an excellent choice for many renters and property owners alike.

Also, never hesitate to contact a solar installation contractor in Texas as well. They can typically answer your questions and recommend community solar programs as well. In turn, you’ll enjoy clean, green solar power no matter your budget or other limitations.

How does community solar work in Texas

How Does Community Solar Work in Texas?

To better understand a community solar project, it helps to learn about community or shared solar overall. Community solar, also known as shared solar or solar gardens, enables multiple individuals to invest in a solar energy project.

This is an excellent opportunity for those who cannot install solar panels on their own properties. For example, renters or those with small homes that cannot support many panels might invest in community solar. Also, it allows people to invest in a larger solar installation and enjoy more potential cost savings.

How community solar works

Check out some added details about how community solar typically works:

  • A solar energy project is developed, which could be a solar farm, a collection of solar panels on a building’s roof, or another suitable location with ample sunlight. The project’s size and capacity can vary, but it is designed to generate electricity from sunlight.
  • Interested participants can either subscribe to the community solar project or, in some cases, purchase ownership shares in the project. Subscribers typically sign up for a certain capacity or a specific number of solar panels, representing their share of the project’s total output.
  • The energy generated by the solar project is allocated among the participants based on their subscribed capacity. This allocation is usually measured in kilowatts (kW) or kilowatt-hours (kWh), indicating the amount of electricity their share of the solar system is expected to produce.
  • Participants receive credits on their electricity bills for the energy generated by their portion of the solar project. These credits are often referred to as “solar credits” or “virtual net metering credits.” The value of these credits is determined by the amount of electricity produced and the prevailing electricity rates.
  • The energy credits earned by participants are subtracted from their monthly electricity bills. This effectively reduces their overall energy costs. The more solar energy the project generates, the more credits participants receive and the greater their potential savings.
  • In some cases, excess energy generated by the community solar project that isn’t used by participants can be fed back into the grid. This can lead to additional credits or compensation for the project owners or developers.

Why choose a community solar project

Community solar provides benefits to a wide range of participants, including homeowners, renters, businesses, and organizations. Homeowners can access solar energy without installing panels on their property. This is excellent if your property doesn’t support panels, such as if your home has a small or overly shaded roof.

Also, renters can participate without needing to own property. Both homeowners and businesses can enhance their sustainability efforts with community solar. Even if you have panels on your property, you can still invest in a solar community!

Is Community Solar Legit?

Yes, community solar is a legitimate and established concept within the renewable energy industry. It’s a way for individuals, businesses, and communities to access solar benefits without installing panels on their own properties.

Community solar projects are often developed by reputable solar companies, utilities, or organizations. Also, remember that they are subject to regulations and guidelines set by local and state authorities. In fact, states have specific legislation or policies that support and regulate community solar programs in particular.

Additionally, many community solar projects are initiated by utility companies themselves. These aim to provide their customers with access to solar energy options. Moreover, community solar projects project developers, investors, and participants often spend significant financial resources developing community solar programs.

solar panels in a field

How do you choose a legit community solar project?

While community solar programs are typically legitimate and beneficial, it’s important to be cautious and informed before participating. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Before signing up, thoroughly research the project developer, organization, or utility offering the program. Look for reviews, testimonials, and any news about their track record.
  • Carefully review the terms and conditions of any agreement or contract before committing to a community solar program. Ensure you understand how billing, energy credits, and potential savings work.
  • Reputable community solar programs should be transparent about the costs, benefits, and any fees associated with participation.
  • Verify that the program is compliant with relevant local, state, and federal regulations. This can help ensure the legitimacy of the program.

What are the challenges for community solar?

While community solar offers many benefits, there are also challenges with these programs! Some of the common challenges for community solar programs include:

  • Community solar programs often need to navigate complex regulations. Inconsistent policies and laws often create barriers for community solar projects.
  • Developing a community solar project requires upfront investment, and securing financing can be a challenge. This is especially true for smaller projects or in areas with limited financial incentives or supportive policies.
  • Identifying suitable sites for solar installations can be challenging, particularly in areas where available land is limited.
  • In some cases, utility companies might not be fully supportive of community solar initiatives. Cooperation and negotiations with utilities are often necessary for successful implementation.
  • Managing subscriptions, credits, billing, and communication with participants can be administratively complex, especially as the number of participants grows.

Despite these challenges, community solar continues to grow and evolve as a great option for people to access clean energy. Addressing these challenges often involves collaboration between project developers, policymakers, utilities, and local communities. Together, they can then create a supportive environment for community solar to thrive.

Is Joining a Community Solar Farm a Good Idea?

Joining a community solar farm can be a good idea for many people. First, consider your individual circumstances, goals, and preferences. Second, note if a solar farm is better than individual solar panel ownership. Check out some additional factors to consider that can help you decide if joining a community solar farm is a good idea for you:

  • If you rent or don’t own property, community solar provides an opportunity to access solar energy without the need for solar panels on your own property.
  • Evaluate the financial benefits. Consider the potential savings from the energy credits you’ll receive compared to your current electricity costs. While community solar can lead to savings, it’s important to calculate the estimated payback period and overall savings potential.
  • Many community solar programs require participants to commit for a certain period. Make sure you’re comfortable with the commitment length before signing up. For instance, might you move anytime soon?
  • Review the contract terms thoroughly. Understand how billing, credits, and any fees are structured.
  • Supporting renewable energy through community solar contributes to a cleaner environment and reduced carbon emissions. Community solar also allows a wider range of people to benefit from solar energy, including those who might not have suitable roofs or property ownership.
  • Remember that community solar typically involves less maintenance and hassle compared to individual solar installations.

solar panel faces

Successful Community Solar Programs

To better understand, how does community solar work in Texas and is it right for you, check out some successful community solar projects. However, note that these programs may have changed over the years and since the time of this writing:

  • The Lancaster Solar Plant in California is one of the largest community solar installations in the United States. It allows residents and businesses in the city of Lancaster to subscribe to the solar plant’s energy production, helping them save on electricity costs while supporting renewable energy.
  • The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) developed the Shine Community Solar project. It offers subscriptions to residents, businesses, and nonprofits in the Roaring Fork Valley. It aims to make solar energy accessible to a broader range of people.
  • Minnesota’s Community Solar Garden program enables residents and businesses to subscribe to solar gardens developed by various companies. This initiative is considered one of the largest and most successful community solar programs in the US.

A Word From Our Solar Team

Go Solar Energy Texas is happy to help answer the question, how does community solar work in Texas? If you’re in the state and are ready to learn more about clean, green solar, call our Texas solar panel installation contractors. We’ll explain all the solar details and schedule a FREE price quote for your property.


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