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Difference Between Solar Panels and Community Solar

Solar Panels and Community Solar

When people begin to consider solar energy, they usually have two options to choose from. One is Community Solar and the other one is Rooftop Solar. Before you decide to go with either of these options, you need to know a little bit about both these options. Let’s have a look at the detailed difference of both options here in this article. 

How Is Community Solar Different Than Rooftop Solar?

Community Solar Programs are newly developed programs and they have not been around for a long time as compared to rooftop solar. Back in the day when solar energy was introduced to the world, there was only a rooftop solar option. People would get solar panels and solar plates and install them on their rooftops. But this option had limitations and communities needed a better sustainable solution. Therefore, community solar programs were introduced so that everyone can avail the benefits of renewable energy.  The growth and adoption of community solar programs are due to the conveniences it offers and the differences between the rooftop solar program. Despite the difference, both community solar and rooftop solar option offer 100% renewable power supply transformed by sunlight. It is a clean and suitable energy initiative that helps reduce energy dependence on fossil fuels. Both of these options give discounts on electric bills. Both options have differences in their scopes. So, without further ado, let’s get into the details of each option.

Community Solar Programs

Community Solar Programs are designed in a way so that more people could take benefit from them. The community solar project is accessible for people and business entities who are renters and homeowners alike. It has been possible through community solar farm subscriptions that are accessible to everyone. The solar power is generated in a community solar garden where thousands of solar panels are installed. These solar gardens are built in offsite regional locations on unused land. These are just like fields but instead of grains, you will find solar panels all over the land. This way renewable energy is generated that eliminates the need for a rooftop installation altogether. The solar energy is sent to a local power grid and from there, it can be supplied to all subscribers. Companies like ClearPath Energy community solar offers the benefits of no upfront costs and no home visits. Community Solar companies assure people that they would have an uninterrupted supply of electricity made by solar energy and in exchange for that, they will be charged for their services.  The subscribers also get to earn solar credits by using renewable solar energy.

Rooftop Solar

The rooftop solar option requires people to install solar panels on their roofs. Sometimes there could be other places where homeowners would like to install solar panels but it’s very rare.   The solar panels are a part of a customized solar power system that is installed along with the solar panels at home. The solar energy that is collected from the panels will be transformed into renewable energy and that energy will be used as electricity in your home. The usual life expectancy for this type of solar system can range from 25 to 30 years easily.

If you own a residence, then you can purchase or lease a solar rooftop system. There are companies that would do the rooftop panel installation when you need to establish a rooftop solar power system. Surely, the costs and terms of the agreement would vary based on each state and different companies. To expand solar access, one might be responsible for maintenance and repairs. In that case, you can get help from the company that set you up with the solar equipment because it is the responsibility of the solar company that owns the system to maintain it.

There are some limitations to rooftop systems. For instance, renters can’t get solar panels installed on their roofs. According to a study, only 57% of the residential homes in the US are suitable for solar PV. That means, if you are a renter, there is no hope for solar energy for you. 

Benefits of community solar energy program

A community solar company offers its subscribers community solar access without any solar installations. The initiative is good for the environment, it helps generate economic activity in the local community by creating new jobs, and doesn’t require any kind of maintenance. Some of the popular features of community solar projects are mentioned below:

·         It’s great for renters including residents and business entities.

·         It doesn’t require you to install solar panels at your home or office rooftop.

·         It is the best solution when you are living somewhere temporary.

·         The community solar program doesn’t have any responsibility or maintenance. One can get the subscription for as long as he or she wants and then unsubscribe it. 

·         It would allow the users to have a 5 to 10% discount on electricity bills.

·         This initiative also improves economies of scale

Benefits of Rooftop Solar Panels

The rooftop solar option is great because the owner gets incentives in federal tax credit. The incentives and the cost of rooftop solar can vary from state to state. Usually, the cost is high in big cities. For instance, the average solar panel cost in Massachusetts is lower in New York, but at the same time, it is higher in Minnesota or Illinois.

Which option is suitable for you?

When you have considered the solar energy options, it is time to give your time to know about which option is good. From my point of view, the community solar program seems more functional and suitable for any residential or business entity. It’s because this program doesn’t hold you responsible for anything. You can just subscribe to a community solar program in your local area and it would be good for you to focus on your business venture without getting distracted.

Also, being part of a solar initiative is a collective effort of communities that drives connections between neighborhoods to bring sustainable change.

However, if you choose to support renewable power, you can be part of a clean energy future through rooftop panels or a community solar program. This program has considered the needs of renters, lower-income residents, and those whose roofs or land simply won’t accommodate solar panels. The community solar installations offer a chance to take advantage of this cost-effective, renewable energy source.

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