NRG Energy, one of the most aggressive power companies in solar power—it already owns some of the largest solar farms in the U.S., has installed solar at multiple stadiums and offers residential solar in some markets—is now entering the newest consumer-facing side of the solar industry, community solar power. The company announced this week that it is launching its first community solar garden in Massachusetts.
The company’s NRG Home division is working with NRG Home Solar, NRG Renew and Borrego Solar Systems to bring a 1 megawatt community solar project to fruition in Freetown, Mass.
“Residents in several states across America—including Colorado, Massachusetts and Minnesota—have spoken: they want their lives to be powered by affordable, renewable energy any way they can get it,” said Steve McBee, president and CEO of NRG Home. “In Massachusetts, customers enthusiastically signed up to 100 percent of the output of our new shared solar facility, and in response we are accelerating our shared solar development to meet strong demand in states with supportive policies.”
Community solar is one of the fastest growing segments in consumer-facing solar offerings. It began taking off in Colorado with launch of Clean Energy Collective and has since seen adoption in several states. Unlike traditional rooftop solar power, community solar allows people and businesses to get access to solar power without putting it on their roofs. Instead, the solar panels are located at a solar farm and people purchase or lease the panels in the community solar garden. The power their portion of the site generates is generally credited to their electric bill—different states set this up differently, however.
Under the Freeman project, subscribers entered in a 20-year agreement with NRG Home Solar. Subscribers’ energy bills are credited for the solar power their portion of the solar garden generates.
“One of the most exciting things about solar is that as it grows explosively we create new opportunities for people to make renewable energy part of their lives,” said Kelcy Pegler, president of NRG Home Solar. “Shared solar represents that opportunity—a simple, inexpensive path for people who buy power to go solar without limitations.”
In all NRG Home Solar and NRG Renew have over 100 megawatts of community solar projects in stages of development, according to the company. The Freetown project was their first to reach completion. The company’s NRG YieldCo division will invest in such projects as well to help keep financing costs lower for consumers.Tweet