Community solar is a business model emerging in the U.S. that provides the benefits of solar generation to portions of the consumer electricity market that are unable to host a rooftop solar installation. Through a community solar program, residential and commercial ratepayers have the option to purchase electricity generated at an off-site array. Legislation has propelled the community solar market in some states, while other states have seen lackluster growth. Utilities have also developed successful programs without policy support, with their motivation varying depending on their type. The market is still a nascent space with many developers entering, but there is one clear leader that new entrants much catch up to. Lessons learned in the U.S. will be important if utilities in international markets are to begin developing their own programs. Our analysis presents case-studies, examines the partnership space, and determines the financial attractiveness of community solar projects.
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