Next Step Living reaches over 10,000 reservations for community solar gardens
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Next Step Living reaches over 10,000 reservations for community solar gardens

Even amid the strong growth of the U.S. solar market, community solar, where customers sign up for shares in remote utility-scale solar projects, stands out as an area of particularly rapid expansion. In June GTM Research estimated that the U.S. community solar market would grow five-fold this year to reach 115 MW, and would grow to over 500 MW annually by 2020. An announcement today by Massachusetts-based Next Step Living is in line with these trends. The company reports that it has reached nearly 11,000 reservations for community solar gardens, with more than 1,500 contracts for gardens expected to go live in…
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Linden Hills Community Solar project underway
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Linden Hills Community Solar project underway

The Linden Hills Co-op has officially signed on as a host site for a community solar garden. Residents can purchase one share (one solar panel) to offset their home’s energy use through Xcel Energy bill credits. The cost is $1,700 per share, as well as an ongoing annual fee, and the cost to reserve a share is $100. [adinserter block="1"] The program is a partnership between Sundial Solar and Linden Hills Power & Light. To receive more details or a reservation form, contact lhcommunitysolar@gmail.com.
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‘Community solar’ is a hot business
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‘Community solar’ is a hot business

Interest in solar energy is booming in Massachusetts, and it's no different in Lunenburg. At a recent Board of Selectmen's meeting, representatives from Nexamp, a solar-energy provider, discussed a proposed community-solar project that would involve the development of a 500-kilowatt solar farm on Fisher Road in Fitchburg. [adinserter block="1"] For this, Nexamp would treat Lunenburg as an "anchor tenant," meaning that half of the electricity generated through net-metering credits would benefit the town, representatives said. Ratepayers would have a 15 percent discount on every bill, they said. At that time, Nexamp needed about 50 more people to sign up, and,…
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Amherst residents can still blaze a path to Solar for others to follow
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Amherst residents can still blaze a path to Solar for others to follow

Based on feedback I've received from my letter which was published on the Gazette's website on Oct. 22, and which appeared in the Oct 26 print edition, I wanted to write a follow up. The short of it is that the Town of Amherst should be applauded for going solar, no matter which path it chooses. I also understand that my proposal came in far too late in the process to have adequate time to be vetted properly by the Town, and that there are numerous uncertainties (including debt-financing) that would need to be addressed before moving forward, where as…
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Community Solar: Two Paths forward in Massachusetts
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Community Solar: Two Paths forward in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has created a legal structure that says investor-owned utilities must allow Community Solar via Virtual Net Metering. There are two basic models – the Participant Ownership model and the Public Lease model. However a project is legally structured, the basic mechanics for delivering benefits to the projects participants is the same, thanks to virtual net metering. Once a community solar project has been commissioned, the utility measures how much electricity is produced, and then credits the accounts of the beneficiaries (owners or participants) based upon their amounts of ownership. Seems simple enough on the surface, but it took a lot of legal work…
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PGE Makes Solar Power Available to Customers for $5/mo
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PGE Makes Solar Power Available to Customers for $5/mo

Portland General Electric customers can now purchase output from a new, large-scale solar installation in Oregon under a renewable power option PGE announced today. For just $5 a month, customers can purchase a 1 kilowatt block of Green Future Solar from energy produced by a 2,935 kW solar installation just completed in Willamina, Ore. Blocks will be available until the capacity sells out. "Green Future Solar helps customers who've wanted to go solar, but couldn't because they rent their homes, installation costs are too high, or they just don't have a good spot available to install solar panels." "This renewable…
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Could community solar’s future be at risk in Massachusetts?
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Could community solar’s future be at risk in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker sat before the Senate in the Statehouse and outlined his vision for solar in the state’s future yesterday. Of particular interest was net-metering, and net-metering caps, which figure prominently in the cost analysis of any solar project. Governor Baker was quick to mention that he would not push for changes to the law regarding net metering for either individuals or industrial users, meaning users with roofs and capital to make such investments. Though, the future of commercial and Community Solar – remember Community Solar is the only way for those with less financial wherewithal to get solar…
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