US to have 1.5 GW solar under community schemes in 2020
Solar panels. Author: Patrick Kain. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.
The total capacity deployed under community solar programmes across the US is forecast to reach 1.5 GW in 2020, representing a USD 2.5 billion (EUR 2.2bn) market, Navigant Research said last week.
According to the analyst firm, community solar could potentially capture 2% of the solar market, due to factors such as reduced system costs and demand for clean energy in the residential and commercial sector. However, because of the resulting decrease in utility control and increase in retail competition, a rethinking of current utility business models and their electricity generation mix will be needed.
US utilities have been implementing community solar programmes since 2010. The schemes offer solar energy to residential and commercial customers in multi-story buildings and those without a roof suitable for solar panels. Thanks to virtual net metering, consumers offset part or all of their electricity bills with the electricity generated by the solar projects.