‘Community solar’ systems may add savings to local, cooperative energy projects

A residential use of solar energy in Wisconsin is pictured. Credit: Matt Montagne, courtesy of Oregon State University

A residential use of solar energy in Wisconsin is pictured. Credit: Matt Montagne, courtesy of Oregon State University

By Phys.Org 

Part of the future of solar energy, especially for residential use, may be small “community-based” systems in which neighbors join together in the construction and use of solar systems to optimize the energy produced in their neighborhood – and share in the benefits.

New research by engineers at Oregon State University indicate that an optimal development of neighborhood solar energy might increase the total electricity produced by 5-10 percent, a significant gain by the standards of solar energy efficiency. At the same time, it can reduce the variability and unpredictability of the solar resource. Read more here.

Rooftop Solar Panels Could Power Nearly 40 Percent Of the U.S., by Mary Beth Griggs, Popular Science. The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) issued a report last week that analyzed the ability of America’s roofs to host solar panels. They looked at rooftops in 128 cities across the country, analyzing buildings large and small for their suitability for hosting photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, and how much power could be generated in each location. The estimates varied by state and by region, but overall, the report found that 39 percent of the country’s energy could be generated by rooftop solar panels.

Experts Explore Global Role of Solar PV, Solar Industry Magazine. The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) says its scientists, along with their counterparts from solar energy research institutes in Germany and Japan, gathered recently to discuss the future of photovoltaics and assess its contributions to increasing global prosperity, energy security and mitigation of climate change.

Detroit council approves 10-acre solar energy plant on vacant city-owned land, by Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press. Members of Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration described the project as a catalyst to enhance the neighborhood, along with concurrent plans to use federal funds for nearby blight demolition and a commitment to train residents for “green collar” jobs focused on the reuse of vacant land.

Officials To Flip Switch On 100-Acre Solar Plant in South Arkansas, UALR Public Radio. The switch will soon be flipped on 151,200 solar panels that will provide electricity to the growing defense industry operations in East Camden. The 12-megawatt solar field will generate electricity equivalent to powering 2,400 homes.

Study: Home values increase when solar panels get installed, by Kelsey Ramirez, Housingwire
A new study from The Appraisal Journal, the academic publication of one of the nation’s largest association of appraisers, shows that homes that use solar panels are sold at a premium.