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Community solar PV projects

Community solar PV projects

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In today's world, global warming (GW) and the resulting climate change are a significant threat to humans, plants and animals. The main contributor to GW is greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are created from the burning of fossil fuels, mainly for electrical power. Hence, the way forward in safeguarding the future of life on planet earth is to reduce on our GHG emissions and move rapidly to the utilization of renewable energy resources that are abundantly available. There are numerous advantages in implementing renewable energy projects versus the use of fossil fuels in meeting individual or community energy demands. With renewable energy, an individual or community will be able to have a more diverse and stable long-term energy supply, considering fossil fuel resources are slowly being depleted. Small-scale renewable energy projects, especially in remote communities which are currently served by diesel-generated electricity, offset the community's use of diesel fuel. Although there will be times when renewable energy is not available and a back-up source of power is required, the long-term cost of energy may be reduced. And the use of indigenous energy can contribute to a nation (or region's) energy security by significantly reducing its dependence on imported oil (assuming it is not an oil exporter). There are numerous renewable energy resources available globally (wind, solar, biomass, falling water, geothermal) that can be used for individual or community energy projects. Community energy projects are distinguished from other renewable energy projects in which members of the community are subscribers who use the electricity produced by the project, even though each individual does not solely own the equipment. This chapter presents an overview of how energy captured from the sun can be utilized at the community level by installing solar photovoltaic systems in the form of a solar garden or solar farm or solar power plant to generate electrical energy in meeting some, if not all, of the community total energy demand. In addition, readers will be exposed to three common ownership models and their benefits, barriers affecting the adoption of such projects and selected examples of such projects that have been completed or are in the conceptualization or construction phase within North America, Europe, South America and East Africa.

Chapter Contents:

  • Abstract
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.1.1 What is a community solar PV project?
  • 7.1.2 Rationale of community solar PV projects
  • 7.1.2.1 Performance guarantee
  • 7.1.2.2 Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 7.1.2.3 Reduction in global air pollution
  • 7.1.2.4 Reduction in foreign exchange deficit
  • 7.1.2.5 Increase in electricity security and reliability
  • 7.1.2.6 Local control
  • 7.1.2.7 Job creation
  • 7.1.2.8 Utilization of prospective sites
  • 7.1.3 Variations in community solar PV projects
  • 7.1.3.1 Ownership
  • 7.1.3.2 Participation
  • 7.1.3.3 Valuing the solar energy
  • 7.1.3.4 Geographic location
  • 7.1.3.5 Utility compensation
  • 7.2 Community solar PV models
  • 7.2.1 Grid/utility sponsored community solar PV projects
  • 7.2.1.1 What is grid/utility sponsored community solar PV project?
  • 7.2.1.2 Grid/utility sponsored structure
  • 7.2.1.3 Benefits of grid/utility sponsored model
  • 7.2.2 Special purpose entity (SPE) sponsored community solar PV
  • 7.2.2.1 What is a special purpose entity sponsored community solar PV?
  • 7.2.2.2 How does a special purpose entity sponsored project operate?
  • 7.2.2.3 Special purpose entity sponsored community solar PV structure
  • 7.2.2.4 Benefits of SPE sponsored community solar PV projects
  • 7.2.3 Nonprofit sponsored community solar PV
  • 7.2.3.1 What is a nonprofit sponsored community solar PV project?
  • 7.2.3.2 How does a nonprofit sponsored community solar PV operate?
  • 7.2.3.3 Nonprofit sponsored community solar PV structure
  • 7.2.3.4 Benefits of a nonprofit sponsored community solar PV model
  • 7.2.4 Comparison of the community solar PV project models
  • 7.3 Community solar PV projects implementation barriers
  • 7.3.1 High acquisition and installation cost
  • 7.3.2 Space
  • 7.3.3 Investors
  • 7.3.4 No grid connection
  • 7.3.5 Lack of government policies
  • 7.3.6 Lack of government incentives
  • 7.3.7 Complexity issues
  • 7.3.8 Customer inertia
  • 7.4 Selected examples of existing/future community solar PV projects
  • 7.4.1 Ontario, Canada
  • 7.4.2 California, United States of America
  • 7.4.3 Guyana, South America
  • 7.4.4 Germany, Europe
  • 7.4.5 Rwanda, East Africa
  • 7.5 Summary
  • 7.6 Recommendations
  • 7.6.1 Policies and regulations
  • 7.6.2 Start-up capacity
  • 7.6.3 Funding
  • 7.7 Conclusion
  • Abbreviations
  • References
  • Further reading

Inspec keywords: global warming; climate mitigation; solar power stations; photovoltaic power systems; air pollution control; energy security

Other keywords: diesel-generated electricity; fossil fuel resources; solar power plant; community total energy demand; global warming; climate change; electrical energy generation; GHG emission reduction; community solar PV projects; greenhouse gases; small-scale renewable energy projects; solar photovoltaic systems; fossil fuel burning; common ownership models; long-term energy supply; renewable energy resources; region energy security; indigenous energy; nation energy security; diesel fuel; solar farm; electrical power

Subjects: Solar power stations and photovoltaic power systems

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