Commercial, Distributed Generation, Solar, Sourcing Renewables - May 3, 2017
Community solar expands in northern New York
A New York state community solar project recently became the first such installation in the state to be interconnected to National Grid's electric system.
The project is expected to be entirely supported by members of nearby communities including farms and local businesses, and is accepting new members, though remaining space is limited as it is already more than 50% subscribed, according to a May 3 news release from United Renewable Energy LLC, which constructed the project. Located in the northern part of the state, the solar installation sits on approximately three acres of previously underused pasture land; its peak output is 241 kW DC, yielding a peak of 165 kW AC returned to the power grid.
The members of the solar farm receive a percentage of the solar plant's generation each month, which is credited to their bill as if the panels were installed on their own roofs, according to the release. Centralizing the solar panels at one site as opposed to installing them across the various members' roofs reduces construction costs, which allows members to save money on their combined electricity and distribution costs that they would not save going the route of onsite solar.
Community solar continues to expand, in a state-by-state manner, as an option for end users looking to increase their use of renewable energy. In Minnesota, which has a robust community solar program, large energy users such as U.S. Bancorp, Land O'Lakes Inc., Macy's and Ecolab Inc. have subscribed to recently completely projects.