Summit Ridge Energy has begun construction on the first of 13 community solar projects in Maine as part of a 44 MW portfolio.
The projects, which are expected to reach commercial operation in 2022 and 2023, will operate under the Maine NEB program. SRE will finance the projects, while Revision Energy will handle development, subscription, and construction of the portfolio.
“We’re proud to partner with Maine’s largest solar contractor and look forward to delivering thousands of local residents and businesses with monthly utility savings generated entirely from clean, renewable power,” said Garren Bisschoff, SRE’s Vice President of Business Development.
The Biden administration has set a target of powering 5 million American homes with community solar projects by 2025-- an ambition that would require 700% growth of current capacity.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates a total of 3,253 MW-AC community solar capacity was installed in the U.S. by the end of 2020 -- enough to power 600,000 homes. The cumulative installed capacity of community solar has grown rapidly since 2010, doubling on average year-over-year.
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Community solar enabling legislation exists in 21 states and the District of Columbia, either through state-required programs or authorization of pilot programs, according to NREL.
Currently, 72% of cumulative community solar capacity is concentrated in just four states: Minnesota, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York.
Community solar projects allow residents without suitable rooftops for generation to take advantage of the benefits of solar power, improving access to renewable energy for low-income and disadvantaged communities. Community solar project subscribers often receive guaranteed cost savings on their energy bills, too.
The Biden administration believes reaching its community solar target could create $1 billion in energy savings.