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Community owned solar farm – a model for investment

With over 59 million renters, more than 96 million poorly sited properties and 148 million people for whom cost is a barrier to acquiring a solar power system, community owned solar farms are likely to spring up right across the USA in the years ahead.

Colorado’s 500kW Community-Owned Solar Farm http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3528  25 Dec 12

Clean Energy Collective (CEC) recently held a Grand Opening ceremony for its Colorado Springs Community-Owned Solar Farm.

With a 500 kW capacity and consisting of  2,210 solar panels, the facility currently generates enough to power 100 homes.

Based on a community ownership model, investors are able to participate for as little as $565; which purchases a single 225 watt solar panel at the facility. Participants can build on their holdings at any time or sell all or part of their portfolio whenever they wish. The cost also covers maintenance for 50 years and there are no additional fees or service charges.

CEC claims the model gives participants almost 6x as much payback over the life of their investment over leasing programs currently available in the USA.

“CEC solar subscribers get all of the economic and environmental benefits of using solar power without having to install anything on their roof,” says the CEC web site. “Subscribers get credits applied directly to their monthly Colorado Springs Utilities bills for the power their panels produce.”

The model eliminates issues such as home orientation, rooftop availability (apartment dwellers), shading and building ownership (renters), and reduces the financial barrier to entry through allowing the purchase of a single solar module.

The CEC’s proprietary RemoteMeter system automatically calculates investors’ monthly credits and integrates with utilities’ existing billing infrastructure. RemoteMeter incorporates an iPhone application that allows participants to view real time production data along with daily, monthly, yearly and lifetime production charts plus comparison data such as money, trees and car miles saved.With over 59 million renters, more than 96 million poorly sited properties and 148 million people for whom cost is a barrier to acquiring a solar power system, community owned solar farms are likely to spring up right across the USA in the years ahead.

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December 26, 2012 - Posted by | business and costs, renewable, USA

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