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Radian Generation employees along a row of solar panels on December 4, 2017, at the family-owned Knowlton Farm in Grafton, Massachusetts. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg via Getty Images

1,023 megawatts of community solar have been installed in the U.S. as of Q1 2018, according to a recent report, enough to power roughly 150,000–200,000 homes. Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota and Colorado are leading the way in providing community solar resources for their communities.

The details: Community solar refers to both community-owned solar installations and third-party-owned installations that allow anyone in the area to access the energy and , in some cases, obtain energy credits toward their electric bills. People who cannot afford solar installations or do not own the necessary real estate (renters, homeowners with shady rooftops, etc.) can participate and request clean energy through local utilities if community projects are available nearby. Several subscription models exist, from buying a share of panels in a solar farm to simply tapping into the power generated.

Colorado installed the first community solar program in 2011 and has expanded to include and involve low-income communities. The Coyote Ridge Community Solar Farm, located in Fort Collins, will have 1.95 megawatts of solar capacity when finished and will be the largest low-income installation in the U.S. Minnesota leads the way with 401 megawatts of community solar capacity, the most of any state, however most participants are commercial clients.

In the northeast, Massachusetts and New York both have strong community solar for residential customers. New York owes its progress in part to Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion state initiative to advance and accelerate solar deployment and projects. Governor Baker in Massachusetts recently signed “An Act to advance Clean Energy” into law, which will further offer more opportunities for solar developers.

NREL reports that half the country cannot install rooftop solar panels, which makes community solar attractive. Many states have adopted policies for renewables, including tax credits and rebates, but still need to develop practical programs that incentivize clean energy use.

What to watch: Northern states' success with community solar might prompt southern states, which enjoy more sunlight, to follow suit.

Maggie Teliska is a technical specialist at Caldwell Intellectual Property Law, an intellectual property law firm. She is also a member of GLG, a platform connecting businesses with industry experts.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."