Community solar is becoming increasingly popular. It is starting to take off in the south, with Georgia and Maryland the latest states to allow it.
In Texas, Austin companies Powerfin Texas Solar Projects LLC and Austin Energy are beginning the first phase of their community solar project. Their 25-year PPA, which will ultimately provide up to 3.2 MW of power to Austin Energy, is considering a community revitalization site in east downtown Austin as their first project.
This choice would exemplify the best of community solar — bringing the technology to those who cannot afford the cost on their own. Further benefits from this project include the fact that the Austin City Council has found that for every 200 megawatts of local solar in the city, $360 million of total local economic value is created. So, this project should generate approximately $6 million of local economic value.
Solar integration in Austin is not an easy process. Becky Klein, former Chairman of the Texas Public Utilities Commission and current advisor to PowerFin, explains, “Unlike most solar companies, PowerFin has the deep technical, regulatory, and financial expertise to integrate solar into the community and the grid in a seamless and beneficial manner.” Tuan Pham, PowerFin’s President, adds, “With approximately $150 million of completed solar projects, we are excited to apply our experience in our community. Providing tangible value is PowerFin’s mission, and we look forward to integrating affordable and reliable solar into the existing grid.”
As we have previously reported, community solar is vital for the majority of people who are unable to put solar on their own rooftops. This underscores the importance of community solar in the future of solar.