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Community Solar Farms Taking Off in 2015 [Chart]

Community Solar Farms Taking Off in 2015 [Chart]

Community Solar Farms Taking Off in 2015 [Chart]

Total installations of community solar farms to jump sevenfold in two years.

The Chart of the Week is a weekly feature in Visual Capitalist on Fridays.

Through the last five years, on average there was only 13 MW of new community solar farm installations per year in the United States market. To put this in perspective, the country as a whole put in 6.2 GW of solar in the year of 2014. This basically gives the “community concept” of solar power the equivalent of a big fat zero on the scoreboard so far.

GTM Research, a division of Greentech Media, anticipates that in 2015 that community solar farms will finally break new ground with 115 MW of new installations, doubling cumulative capacity. Then, over the following five years, a grand total of 1,663 MW of community solar is expected to be installed and operational in the United States with 80% of all installations occurring in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Minnesota.

Community solar farms are a concept that tries to address some of the typical drawbacks of rooftop photovoltaic installations. For example, residential rooftop installations must have several factors align for optimal energy production: rooftop size and shape, the microclimate on property, adjacent buildings or trees, aesthetics, building codes, and zoning restrictions must all cooperate.

In community solar farms, people pool their resources together to own panels or a percentage of solar power production at a given location. This concentrates production all in one place where none of the above concerns are an issue, and energy production is maximized. The company or organization operating the solar farm has the expertise to install and maintain panels which also helps optimize results.

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