Everybody loves the neighborhood community garden, right? Folks from all walks of life come together to cultivate a patch of land and enjoy their local harvest. This same idea is catching on with solar energy production. By buying or leasing a “share” in a local community solar garden, you can receive credit on your electric bill for the portion that your “share” produced.
For almost 75% of us this may be the only way to access solar energy (according to a 2008 study by National Renewable Energy Laboratory). If you rent, have lots of shade, or lack the funds necessary for instillation, then you are frequently unable to host solar energy at your home. In some states, solar energy options exist through utility companies but often at for-profit pricing. How do we get the power of solar energy to the people? This comes down to policy.
Currently 16 states & Washington, DC offer full “solar rights” enabling a non-profit like a church, school or neighborhood association to create a community solar garden. We know if states like Massachusetts and Minnesota are leading the way then it is not the quantity of sunshine that is making community based solar energy feasible but it is helpful government policy. Check out what is happening in your state at Shared Renewables. Virginia has legislation heading to the State House that needs your support. It turns out that you’ve got to fight for your right to solar!