A group of citizens, businesses, and non-profit groups have launched community solar programmes in the US conurbations of Charlotte and Salt Lake City using SolarWorld panels. The developments, said by the company to be one of twenty-six that it has been involved with, are part of what SolarWorld refers to as a nationwide wave of ‘solarize’ programs.
The company claims that since 2009 it has installed around 3 MW of its panels to nearly 1,000 families. For the developments in Charlotte and Salt Lake City, the modules were installed by local contractors at volume-discount pricing. SolarWorld, however, did not reveal how much the discount amounted to.
Mukesh Dulani, U.S. president of SolarWorld Industries America, said, "In this exciting period of the solar industry’s development, when crowd-sourcing is emerging as a viable community financing instrument, the solarize approach has established a proven track record and model to spark further innovation.
Concurrent to the two developments in Charlotte and Salt Lake City, the University of Utah has launched a community solar program, said to be the first in the US sponsored by a university. Under this program, faculty staff, students, alumni, and guests can purchase discounted panels and installations. Renewable energy credits as a result of the program can be given to the university as part of the institutions carbon-reducing goals.
SolarWorld has been involved with community solar projects since 2009. In the company’s home state of Oregon, it arranged for 2.6 MW to be installed across eighteen communities. In 2012, it donated panels to five communities in the Seattle, Washington area.