Bumper Crop: Community Solar Farms

By Peggy Hammond    July 13, 2018

ISS is excited about the future of solar energy.  Each day brings news highlighting the expansion of our industry, clear evidence more people want the sun to supply their energy needs, and there’s a steady buzz around community solar.  A community solar farm or garden benefits people who might otherwise miss out on solar, those who are unable to have an installation on a roof or in a yard.  Sharing a solar facility allows customers price breaks on electricity bills, not to mention the satisfaction of participating with renewable energy.

What was once a former landfill in Richmond, CA, is now a 10.5MW community solar farm.  The participating families are members of Marin Clean Energy’s Deep Green, a Community Choice Aggregation that assures customers of energy that is generated wholly by a renewable source.  Marin Clean Energy serves 450,000 customers.

Minnesota continues to cultivate solar gardens.  The state leads the country in shared solar with operational capacity for community solar farms at 364MW as of June 2018.  Since this state does not place annual limits on community solar, progress is unimpeded.

Both New York and Virginia are making strides with community solar.  New York raised its community solar project capacity from 2MW to 5MW.  With his renewable energy mandate of 50% by 2030, Governor Cuomo is working hard to develop clean power sources in his state, and reports show community solar is positioned for strong growth.  In Virginia, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative started the year by working with three other Virginia electric co-ops to petition the Virginia State Corporation Commission for a community solar pilot program.  The co-ops anticipate approval and hope to sell subscriptions to interested customers this summer.  Meanwhile, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) commissioned the first of two solar farms this spring; some of the generated energy is dedicated to a community solar program called Solar Share.  By the end of May, subscriptions were robust despite the fact CVEC’s advertising was not yet underway.

ISS appreciates and supports each state’s efforts in bringing community solar farms and gardens to fruition.  ISS is committed to delivering solar energy to the U.S. through our custom designed utility-scale solar farms.  For more information on opportunities to work with us, please see our website at www.innovativesolarsystemsllc.com or call 828-424-7884.