Solar installations are on the rise across the globe. Residential installations are growing exponentially, but one typically overlooked portion of the solar movement is community solar farms. A report by GTM Research predicts that over the course of the next two years, community solar will have its market size increase sevenfold. Furthermore, community solar is expected to become a half-gigawatt-per-year market by 2020.
Similar to community gardens, community solar farms allow for renters who cannot install solar panels on their home to join in on saving the environment and money. These farms share photovoltaic energy with a group that purchases a share of the total energy produced by the farm and then receive the benefits of reduced utility bills.
There are presently around 52 community farms in the United States, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). Twenty-four states have at least one operating community solar project, while a further 20 other states are working to put community solar legislation into effect.
"Looking ahead to 2020," said Senior Solar Analyst Cory Honeyman for GTM Research, "the community solar opportunity is poised to become more geographically diversified, as developers ramp up service offerings to utilities in states without community solar legislation in place and as national rooftop solar companies enter the community solar scene."
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