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‘Community solar is about to explode’ in Illinois

Nara Schoenberg wrote a story in the Chicago Tribune on October 31, 2022, “A way to get solar energy — no rooftop panels required — is making headway in Illinois: ‘Community solar is about to explode’

Increasingly popular in Illinois, community solar was pioneered on the West Coast in the mid-2000s as a way to bring clean energy to the many American households — almost 50% by some estimates — that don’t have access to solar panels, often because residents can’t afford them, don’t own their homes or don’t get enough sun on their roofs.
Dickerson and his fellow members of the building’s green committee, said they’re all paying less with community solar, as is their 28-unit building, which is saving about $40 a month on electricity for its common spaces. Spooner and Dickerson calculate they’re saving about 10% on their total electric bills, when taxes, fees and delivery charges are included.

Nara Schoenberg | Chicago Tribune

“Try it you’ll like it. You’ll save money and you’ll feel good about saving the planet — at least a little bit.”

Paul Dickerson, Condo building’s green committee
Read the full story here.

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IN OTHER NEWS:

HOA dropped lawsuit over solar panels after Belleville, Illinois couple spent thousands fighting it
A Belleville couple got handed a legal victory when their homeowners association dropped a lawsuit against them for installing rooftop solar panels on the front and back of their home. “We’re happy that the stress is gone, even though they can sue us again because of the way they dismissed it,” said Mark Bassler, 40, a former Belleville firefighter and father of two children, ages 2 and 7. Those [legal] fees total $53,000, Mark Bassler said. More: 765 ILCS 165/) Homeowners’ Energy Policy Statement Act

7.1-MW community solar project dedicated in New York
The single-axis tracker system is projected to produce approximately 10,794,000 kWh annually and will allow local residents and businesses to benefit from clean energy savings by offsetting their electricity bills with solar energy. “The realization of this project is a reflection of the importance of public-private partnerships and the progress that can be made when industry, state and local governments come together to act on climate change,” said Shyam Mehta, Assistant Director, Distributed Energy Resources and Energy Storage, at NYSERDA.

Community Solar: Get Solar Power for Your Home Without Rooftop Panels
If you live in a state that allows access to community solar, you can subscribe to solar power generated by solar panels located somewhere besides your property. In states with competitive marketplaces, community solar providers can offer simple subscriptions that save you money on electricity almost immediately.

NYSERDA and National Grid Announce Round One Results of Community Solar Program Offering for Underserved New Yorkers
The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in partnership with National Grid today announced 21 community solar projects, totaling more than 120 megawatts, have been selected as part of the first round of a community solar program that delivers the benefits of clean energy to underserved New Yorkers. The Expanded Solar For All program, approved  by the State’s Public Service Commission in January, will serve nearly 175,000 income-eligible customers in National Grid’s upstate service areas once fully implemented.

Colorado green justice groups hail Xcel Energy’s $32.8 million community solar plan
Xcel Energy has agreed to a $32.8 million three-year spending plan for low-income projects that includes more access to community solar gardens and a first-time battery storage incentive, in a settlement hailed as a rare consensus by environmental groups and consumer advocates.

Community solar field planned in Georgetown, Delaware
Senate Bill 2, which passed by near-unanimous votes in the Delaware General Assembly in June 2021, eliminated barriers and created a regulatory process for community solar projects in which residents, businesses and government buildings can purchase credits in a solar array. The TurningPoint facility is planned for a 71-acre site to the south of Sandhill Fields. As part of the application, the applicant is seeking a lot-line adjustment, which would increase the property to 77 acres. The solar facility would be built in 17.5 acres of what is currently an open field.

OPINION: The one-two climate solutions punch: community solar and clean energy tax credits
On Sept. 16, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Community Renewable Energy Act — a pivotal bill enabling more Californians than ever to benefit from and participate in community solar and energy storage. This comes on the heels of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, which extends existing clean energy tax credits and creates new incentives to accelerate a market-based, clean energy transition. This one-two legislative punch will reshape energy access and offer a clean energy pathway to the 45% of Californians who rent their homes, 70% of whom are considered low-income.

Standard Solar Completes Acquisition of 6.2 Megawatt Rhode Island Community Solar Portfolio from Trina Solar
Rhode Island has some of the highest electricity prices in the country, and they are expected to continue to increase. These new projects will allow subscribers – a mix of state agencies, quasi-state agencies, municipalities, public housing authorities, public schools, private schools, non-profits, federal government and hospitals – in the National Grid service territory to benefit from clean energy savings by offsetting their electricity bills with solar energy.

42-MW Illinois community solar project portfolio will feature Solar FlexRack trackers
At least 250 MW of new community solar projects have already been approved through this program and when completed, these projects will allow an estimated 35,000 families to lower their electric bills without installing solar panels. These projects will also contribute to what is expected to be one of the largest years for solar energy in Illinois’ history, with the state’s renewable energy industry planning to complete more than 8,400 rooftop and community solar projects and increase its workforce by 50% by the end of 2022.

Want Energy Resilience? Invest Locally In Community Solar, Rooftop Solar, Heat Pumps, EVs
Communities looking to build resilience in the face of worsening climate disasters will soon have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to better prepare themselves for future catastrophes by leveraging funding and incentives provided by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The time is now for local governments, community-based organizations, and utilities to leverage new federal funding and rapidly scale local energy infrastructure — including nature-based solutions — that advance local resilience, equity, and sustainability goals.

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