What Are Community Solar Projects?

Dec 2023
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What Are Community Solar Projects?

In the pursuit of sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions, neighborhoods, homeowners associations (HOAs), co-ops, and corporate campuses are increasingly turning to community solar projects. This collaborative approach not only shares costs but also distributes benefits among various stakeholders.

From Texas to cities worldwide, the call for centralized efforts to propel solar initiatives forward is gaining momentum. In this exploration, we delve into the creation of microgrids through solar energy and the transformative potential for underserved communities.

Understanding Community Solar

The United States Department of Energy (DOE)  defines community solar as projects or purchasing programs within a geographic area where benefits flow to multiple customers, including individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and other groups. This model allows participants to access solar energy benefits without installing panels on their roofs, making it an inclusive option for renters or those unable to afford solar installations.

How Does Solar Help the Community?

This type of community energy project generates electricity from sunlight, and the energy flows to the utility grid. Participants subscribe to or own a share of the energy generated, typically through a monthly subscription fee. The local utility compensates the community solar provider for the generated energy, and subscribers receive a credit on their electric bills, contributing to reduced electricity costs.

The Need for Centralized Efforts

While individual community-based solar projects are commendable, there is a growing recognition of the need for more centralized efforts in Texas and across our nation. Currently, many projects operate in silos, limiting the widespread impact and benefits they can offer. A coordinated approach can streamline processes, encourage more significant investments, and create a network of interconnected community energy initiatives.

Community developments extends the benefits of solar energy to households and businesses unable to host rooftop systems. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, nearly 50% of households and businesses face barriers to installing rooftop solar. Communal solar emerges as an inclusive solution, allowing all members of a community to access the advantages of solar energy, irrespective of property ownership or roof conditions. Federal initiatives are offering great opportunities for solar farming, and creating a solar co-op.

Ensuring the success of these programs involves implementing robust consumer protections. These include bill credits, transparent contracts, and accessible complaint mechanisms. Particularly for low-income households, such protections are crucial, fostering energy savings and overall program success.

Rapid Growth Across States

Communal solar developments are rapidly expanding across the United States, with at least one project in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Of these, 22 states and DC have enacted enabling legislation to encourage or mandate these initiatives. The growth of this type of solar development supplies households and businesses with an array of options to explore.

Consumers interested in the concept can contact local electric utilities or use online resources like the National Renewable Energy Lab’s State Community Solar List.

Beyond traditional models, solar arrays on apartment or condominium buildings are gaining popularity. This model benefits residents through direct bill discounts or indirect advantages, especially in affordable housing. Moreover, investor-owned utilities, municipalities, and cooperatives can develop their community solar programs, strategically benefiting both the grid and customer relations.

The National Community Solar Partnership

The DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office is spearheading the National Community Solar Partnership. This coalition aims to expand access to every American household by 2025. Through collaboration and technical assistance, the partnership seeks to overcome barriers and ensure the widespread success of solar initiatives.

As we navigate the energy landscape, community solar projects emerge as beacons of inclusivity and sustainability. From fostering local job creation to enhancing community resilience during blackouts, the benefits are manifold.

The vision for the future is clear – a seamlessly interconnected network of community solar initiatives that empowers neighborhoods. Many condominium associations are considering integrating HOAs and solar panels, with the idea that; Together, we can harness the power of the sun for a brighter and more sustainable tomorrow.

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Sunshine Renewable Solutions proudly partners with a leading Texas-based plastic manufacturer, embarking on a groundbreaking initiative to fortify its commitment to sustainability.

By integrating solar energy solutions, we're revolutionizing their environmental impact. Our collaborative efforts aim to construct a robust solar infrastructure, harnessing renewable energy to power their operations efficiently.

Together, we're spearheading a transformative shift towards renewable practices, demonstrating how solar power can drive industrial progress while prioritizing environmental responsibility. Sunshine Renewable Solutions is honored to work hand-in-hand with this industry leader, fostering a brighter, greener future through the strategic implementation of solar energy solutions.

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Creating The Foundation

As the foundational step in our partnership, the construction of concrete piers for the solar panel structure marks a pivotal milestone in our solar energy initiative. These concrete piers serve as the bedrock of support for the entire solar infrastructure, providing stability and durability essential for the efficient functioning of the solar array.

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Precision And Accuracy Are Paramount

Our engineering team meticulously plans and designs the layout of the piers, ensuring they are strategically positioned to uphold the solar panel array's weight and withstand environmental factors such as wind and inclement weather. We adhere to industry standards and best practices to create a robust foundation that guarantees the longevity and resilience of the solar installation.

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A Solid Foundation

Environmental considerations are taken into account throughout the construction process, ensuring minimal disruption to the surrounding ecosystem. Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond energy production to encompass responsible construction practices.

By establishing these concrete piers foundations, we are ready to start Phase 2, erecting the metal support bars. Enabling the subsequent installation of solar panels will power the plastic manufacturer's operations while significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

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Texas Plastic

Sunshine Renewable Solutions to Help Formosa Plastics of Point Comfort, Texas, Achieve Sustainability Goals

Formosa Plastics is a major producer of polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride resins, which are widely used in various industries worldwide. Recognizing its role in environmental stewardship, Formosa Plastics sought to collaborate with a reputable sustainability consultant who can provide solutions to reduce its impact on the environment.

Sunshine Renewable Solutions is a leading sustainability consulting firm that specializes in renewable energy and environmental sustainability. The company has a team of experts who help clients identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and implement sustainable practices through solar power.