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

Ina Fried, author of Login
29 mins ago - Technology

Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones

Photo: Amazon

In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

The big picture: Updating popular products and expanding its range to car alarms and in-home drones, Amazon extended its lead in smart home devices and moved into new areas including cloud gaming and car security. The new offerings will also fuel criticism that the tech giant is helping equip a society built around surveillance.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Oil's turbulent long-term future

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The oil sector is facing risks from all sides.

Why it matters: Risk in the industry is nothing new. But these are especially turbulent and uncertain times. The industry's market clout has waned, the future of demand is kind of a mystery, and future U.S. policy is too, just to name three.

Meadows on Wray's voter fraud dismissal: "He has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI"

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows dismissed FBI Director Chris Wray's testimony that the U.S. has never historically seen evidence of widespread voter fraud, including by mail, during an appearance on "CBS This Morning" on Friday.

Why it matters: Meadows' statement highlights the Trump administration's strategy to sow doubt in November's election results by challenging the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, which are expected to skew heavily in Democrats' favor.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!