Solar gardens offer renewable electricity to more residents

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 @ 08:01 AM
posted by rene5432

Support for renewable electricity has come from many different sectors, with even utility companies investing in technologies like wind power and biomass. But Forbes reports that two new financing models could allow solar power systems supported by communities rather than individuals or companies.

Financing for rooftop solar installations has changed substantially in recent years, with several businesses creating systems to allow homeowners to go solar at little or no cost. Solar leases and power purchase agreements have made the process relatively simple for homeowners, but they are less useful to those with less access to usable rooftops.

Now a few companies have adopted an approach known as solar gardens. These solar installations on unused land in a neighborhood are funded through the contributions of nearby residents. These residents are then credited with some of the production of that solar power system by the utility companies based upon how many solar panels their purchased.

The Gazette reports that an unused landfill outside Colorado Springs, Colorado, is scheduled to add a 500-kilowatt solar installation based upon this model, bringing greater potential for using these otherwise unpopular pieces of land.

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