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US Community Solar Continues to Expand

April 2016 - US Community Solar Continues to Expand South Carolina is set to become the 27th state to implement a community solar program, which allows utility customers to purchase panels from a solar project hosted outside their homes and receive electricity bill credits in proportion to their ownership stake. The Santee Cooper Board of Directors has approved Solar Share, the state's first community solar project. The program will offer customers the option to purchase the energy output from a share of the Colleton Solar Farm and receive a rebate for subscriptions of up to 4 kilowatts.

Minnesota-based utility company, Xcel Energy plans to purchase up to three megawatts of electricity from community solar projects in western Wisconsin, including gardens in La Crosse and Eau Claire counties. Customers will have the option to purchase 25-year subscriptions with a minimum 200 watt purchase.

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has approved Madison Gas and Electric's 500-kilowatt community solar pilot project. Located at the Middleton Municipal Operations Center, the project will provide customers an opportunity to purchase up to half of their annual power needs from local solar generation. Once approved by the City of Middleton, construction will begin in July 2016.

Over 1,200 Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU) customers invested in a 1.5 MW community solar project near Prairie Lakes Park in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The customers will receive a monthly credit on their electric bills for 20 years based on the output from the solar panels.

A recent report by Navigant Research predicts that community solar could reach 1.5 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2020.

News Release - Santee Cooper board increases incentives, sets April 1 as launch for community, rooftop solar programs

News Article - SunLink and RER Energy Group Build Iowa’s Largest Community Solar Project

News Article - Regulators OK Wisconsin Utility’s Community Solar Pilot Project

News Article - Xcel offers solar option for Wisconsin customers