We recently learned that Philadelphia launched its first community solar project. Earlier this summer, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. (PIDC) announced the launch of a 440-kilowatt rooftop solar installation that will provide power to several tenants at The Navy Yard.
What is Community Solar?
Community solar, also sometimes called a “solar garden” or “shared renewable energy plant,” is a solar power plant whose electricity is shared by more than one household, business or community. Community solar projects may be “community-owned” projects or third-party owned plants whose electricity is shared by a community.
The primary purpose of community solar is to allow members of a community to share the benefits of solar power, even if they cannot or prefer not to install solar panels on their property. Participants benefit from the electricity generated by the community solar farm, which costs less than the price they would pay to their utility company.
What is at The Navy Yard?
1,295 photovoltaic panels are currently under construction at The Navy Yard, on the rooftop of RevZilla.com’s East Coast warehouse and fulfillment center. It is expected that this community solar project will produce about 930,000 kilowatt hours per year, which is about one-half of 1 percent of The Navy Yard’s total power.
The power generated from the plant will be fed directly into The Navy Yard’s microgrid, and will be distributed to multiple tenants and customers. PIDC will bill its solar customers a slightly higher rate for the renewable energy. However, this wont be a problem for these participants, “there’s a lot of green-thinking customers here who don’t really care about the extra cost,” says Rudy Terry, director of The Navy Yard smart grid. There are plans to add a second solar project at The Navy Yard that would generate an additional 10 kilowatts.