Community Solar Farms
Community solar farms (CSFs, or solar gardens) make going solar possible for those who want clean energy but don’t have the ability to install it at their location.
Currently available in Maine, CSFs allow anyone to go solar, regardless of home-ownership status or how much sunshine their roof gets.
Own Your Solar Community Solar Power
In a CSF, you purchase and own the solar panels just like you would at your home or business — except that you’re joining forces with other like-minded people to own part of a larger array at a perfect 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 you and the other solar shareholders. 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 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.
This model also works for businesses, who can take advantage of low electric prices from solar without the complications of having to install solar on their roof. This is a great option if you rent or lease your space.
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 about the policy passed in 2019 that makes solar farms viable in Maine.
We built a number of projects — including the very first community-owned solar farm project in Maine — 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 Jennifer and David’s 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.