Maine Community Solar Farm Shares Now Available
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Community solar farms (CSFs, or, solar gardens) make going solar possible for those who want clean energy but don’t have the ability to put it on their own roof (or on the ground in their own yard).
ReVision Energy provides an ownership model of community solar, meaning each participant in one of our solar farms actually owns a share of solar in one of the community projects, rather than participating as a subscription-holder.
Subscribing to a solar farm is another version of renting your power, whereas direct ownership of your share provides the fullest return on investment. Thanks to a variety of no-money-down, fixed-rate solar loans, upfront cost is no longer an obstacle to saving the most money possible.
Due to state-specific solar policy, this product is currently only available in Maine.
Member-Owned Community Solar
In our model, a group of homeowners or small business owners are paired up with a host and invest together in a large solar array which is built on the ground in an ideal solar location (typically an open field, or business park, or brownfield). 100% of the generation from the solar farm is sent to the grid and automatically credited to the accounts of the solar shareholders based on their stake in the solar farm. This billing function is called “Virtual net metering.”
A great advantage of the solar farm is that the share is portable – if you sell your house (and move to another home within the region of the same utility company) or if you move to another apartment, your community solar share comes with you. If you need to move out of your utility’s service territory you can sell your share to another person.
Solar Power to the People, and Small Businesses
From the business’s perspective, this allows you to benefit from low electric rates from solar, without having to install solar on your own roof. Off-site solar is a great option for businesses that rent or lease their space, or don’t have a great building for solar.
Unlike leasing, or purchasing electricity from a competitive energy provider, you actually own the share of the solar project. This means you have access to all the same financial incentives as someone who purchases solar and puts it on their own roof, including affordable financing.
Simply put, solar farms are a way to bring solar to the great number of people who do not own their home, own a home that is unsuitable for solar, or have maximized the solar potential at their existing home and want to generate more solar electricity. It also is a cooperative model that puts energy production into the hands of a small group of people and decentralizes the energy grid.
ReVision Energy’s History with Community Solar
As a New England-based company with over 15 years experience building solar in our region, we are excited with the policy passed in 2019 that makes solar farms viable in Maine.
We built a number of projects — including the very first Maine community solar farm project in Edgecomb — under the previous generation policy, which limited participants to only 10. Though we’re proud of the work we did, and of the landowners, and homeowners, who were able to go solar thanks to those projects, it’s fair to say the 2019 legislation was a game-changer. Under the new policy (which raises the # of solar farm participants to 200) it’s just as affordable to purchase a solar farm share as to install solar on your roof or in your yard.
“It’s a major investment with a steep learning curve, but once we walked ourselves through the math, my wife and I realized what a no-brainer it was economically. Once our solar loan is paid off, we own our own power, and our total electricity costs will only be a small CMP delivery fee. Our solar loan is less than what our average monthly electricity bill was — and is fixed-rate.”
The electricity generated from the Kuchtas’ share offsets their air source heat pump, heat pump water heater, and electric vehicle charging.
“So today, we drive to and from work, heat and cool our home, heat our water, and keep our lights on with energy from the sun. We love that we are supporting a local business and providing extra income to a local farmer while simultaneously saving us money and helping heal the planet. Most importantly to us, we have a teenage daughter who is both scared and excited about her future. She’s too old to be picked up when she’s frightened. This is our way of letting her know we are doing our best to give her the future she dreams of.”
Today, the convenience of community solar (portability and no need to find a place for it on your roof or in your yard!) makes it an incredibly compelling path to go solar and enjoy all the financial savings commensurate with owning your own solar power.
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