SunShare has crossed the 100 megawatt mark for community solar projects it has developed, providing it with the largest active residential subscriber base among all developers in the country. While many community solar developers focus on one or more commercial anchor tenants and backfill demand with resident subscribers, SunShare finances, develops, and operates primarily all-residential community solar systems within its portfolio.
The sky is the limit for this type of solar development. “The potential for more community solar is greater than the potential for residential solar plus commercial solar together,” reckons Amster-Olszewski. “About 80% of all residential roofs in the country are not suitable for rooftop solar because of factors like shading or orientation. Similarly, most commercial roofs have air conditioning and other obstructions that shade or interfere with a solar installation,” he says.
Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables estimates that the addressable market for community solar projects is more than seven times larger than that of rooftop solar.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 1,226 MW of community solar had been installed across the United States through the second quarter of 2018, with 42 states having at least one community solar project online. Competitive community solar programs are now the fastest growing sector of the solar industry according to a 2018 report by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).