Community Solar Tracker

Date: 16 Apr 2024 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

For decades, rooftop solar has allowed homeowners to generate their own renewable electricity — reducing their dependence on monopoly utilities and lowering their energy bills. Investing in solar, however, is not an option for homeowners without a sunny rooftop, renters, and low- and moderate-income households.

Community solar picks up where traditional rooftop solar fails.

Through community solar, individuals subscribe to a portion of a nearby solar garden and get credits on their energy bill for the electricity it produces. This way, people without the financial means for solar on their rooftops and people who don’t own suitable rooftops can still reap the benefits of renewable energy.

*ILSR tracks community solar capacity in states with formal programs that allow non-utility ownership. Our tracking, updated quarterly, is limited to states with accessible and regularly maintained datasets. We are not yet able to track capacity in California, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Many utilities offer something they call community solar, but subscribers pay a premium and the utility owns the projects — thus maintaining its monopoly control over the market and pocketing any profits for its shareholders. To further energy democracy, community solar needs supportive state policy that allows non-utility developers to build and own solar gardens, establishes a fair price for utilities to pay for community solar power, and sets up a process for billing and crediting subscribers. States can and should go even further to design community solar programs that promote racial and economic equity.

Other ILSR Resources on Community Solar:



  • ILSR’s Community Power Map, showing local and state policies and programs that help advance clean energy goals across the country
  • The Community Power Toolkit, which includes community solar as one of 20+ tools communities can use to build energy democracy

For podcasts, videos, and more, see ILSR’s community renewable energy archive.

This article originally posted at For timely updates, follow John Farrell on Twitter or get the Energy Democracy weekly update.

Featured photo credit: iStock

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Maria McCoy

Maria McCoy is a Researcher with the Energy Democracy Initiative. In this role, she contributes to blog posts, podcasts, video content, and interactive features.