Community Solar: Harnessing the Power of Unity for Sustainable Energy

Community solar, also known as solar gardens or shared solar, is a collective solar energy project designed to bring renewable power to multiple participants who cannot install solar panels on their own properties. Instead of relying on individual rooftop solar installations, community solar projects pool resources and use a larger, off-site solar array to generate electricity. The produced energy
is then distributed to the participants, who subscribe to a portion of the solar output based on their energy needs.

The mechanics of community solar projects involve a few key elements:

1. Solar Array Installation: A community solar project begins with installing a sizable solar array, typically in a sunny location or a suitable area within the community. These arrays can range from a few kilowatts to several megawatts, depending on the size of the community and energy demand.

2. Subscription Model: Interested participants subscribe to the project by purchasing or leasing a portion of the solar capacity. This subscription is often called a  “solar share” or “solar panel lease.” The subscription is generally flexible and can be adjusted based on the participant’s energy consumption.

3. Energy Credits: The electricity generated by the solar array is converted into energy credits, also known as virtual net metering credits. These credits are then applied to the electricity bills of the subscribers, reducing or offsetting their energy costs.

4. Utility Cooperation: Community solar projects require collaboration with local utilities to manage the distribution of energy credits and ensure seamless integration with the existing power grid. Utilities play a crucial role in facilitating net metering and crediting subscribers’ accounts accordingly.

There are many advantages to Community Solar including:

1. Inclusivity and Accessibility: Community solar projects open up renewable energy benefits to a broader audience, including renters, low-income households, and those with unsuitable rooftops for solar panel installations.

2. Financial Savings: Subscribers can enjoy reduced energy costs through their participation in the community solar program, leading to potential long-term savings on electricity bills.

3. Environmental Impact: By supporting community solar, participants contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, helping combat climate change, and promoting cleaner air and water.

4. Community Building: Community solar initiatives foster a sense of community by encouraging collaboration and shared commitment towards a sustainable future. It brings people together to work towards a common goal of environmental stewardship.

5. Local Job Creation: The installation and maintenance of community solar projects create job opportunities in the region, stimulating the local economy.

6. Simplified Process: Community solar removes the burden of individual solar panel ownership, as maintenance and administrative tasks are handled by project operators.

Community solar is a transformative force, democratizing access to clean energy and fostering a stronger sense of community among participants. By harnessing the power of unity, community solar initiatives pave the way for a sustainable future where clean energy is not just a privilege for a few but a shared benefit for all. As we embrace community solar and similar innovations, we take significant strides toward building a greener and more equitable world for future generations.

Solar Windows – another view of the Clear Future

Solar panels have traditionally been installed on roofs, whether it’s a home or business. As solar technology continues to develop, unique and cutting-edge designs are emerging. One such technology is the idea of a solar window. A solar window consists of clear glass or plastic, sometimes flexible, typically installed in high-rise buildings. They generate electricity like traditional panels but over a clear, see-through surface. This technology allows for solar to be installed in even more unique places. Imagine if your car had a glass ceiling that allowed for a great view and helped charge your car battery while driving. Or perhaps cell phone screens could be made of this material, allowing you to charge your phone while you use it. Regardless of the application, solar windows appear to be an exciting addition to the future of solar!

Embracing Harmony: Pollinator-Friendly Grass on Solar Farms

As the world faces the growing challenges of climate change and the depletion of natural resources, the
quest for renewable energy has intensified. Solar energy, in particular, has emerged as a promising and
environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fossil fuels. With the rapid expansion of solar farms
worldwide, there is an opportunity to create a more sustainable coexistence between renewable energy
production and biodiversity conservation. One innovative approach gaining momentum is the
implementation of pollinator-friendly grass on solar farms. This practice not only enhances the
ecological health of these sites but also brings numerous benefits to both pollinators and solar energy
production. This essay will explore the significance, benefits, and considerations of incorporating
pollinator-friendly grass on solar farms.

The Importance of Pollinators

Pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, birds, and bats, play a vital role in the ecosystem by facilitating the
reproduction of flowering plants. It is estimated that more than 75% of the world’s flowering plants and
about 35% of global agricultural production depend on pollinators. These small but essential creatures
transfer pollen from one flower to another, enabling fertilization and the formation of seeds and fruits.
This process supports biodiversity, sustains food chains, and ensures ecosystem

Pollinator Decline and Habitat Loss

Despite their importance, pollinators face severe threats due to various human-induced factors. The
widespread use of pesticides, climate change, disease, and habitat loss are among the leading causes of
pollinator decline. The conversion of natural habitats into urban and agricultural landscapes has resulted
in the loss of suitable nesting and foraging grounds for these vital creatures.
Solar Farms and Biodiversity Opportunities
Solar farms, which cover large areas of land, present challenges and opportunities for biodiversity
conservation. While they contribute to a cleaner energy future, their construction often involves
clearing natural habitats and disrupting local ecosystems. However, solar farms also offer an ideal
canvas for creative conservation efforts. By thoughtfully designing and managing these sites, they can
serve as oases for wildlife, including pollinators.

The Concept of Pollinator-Friendly Grass

Pollinator-friendly grass refers to the strategic selection of native and non-invasive grass species that
provide a conducive environment for pollinators to thrive. Unlike conventional lawns that are often
dominated by non-native species and require regular mowing and chemical treatments, pollinator–
friendly grass promotes biodiversity and reduces maintenance costs.

Benefits of Pollinator-Friendly Grass on Solar Farms

1. Biodiversity Conservation: By cultivating native grasses and wildflowers, solar farms can support
a diverse range of pollinators and other wildlife. These sites become important refuges for local
flora and fauna, helping to restore ecological balance.

2. Enhanced Crop Yields: Pollinator-friendly grass benefits wildflowers and supports
the surrounding agricultural lands. When pollinators flourish on solar farms, they are more likely
to spread to nearby farms, boosting crop yields and improving food production.

3. Improved Solar Panel Efficiency: Research has shown that maintaining pollinator-friendly
vegetation around solar panels can improve their efficiency. The grass acts as a natural cooling
agent, reducing the temperature of solar panels and increasing energy production.

4. Soil Health: Native grasses have deep root systems that promote soil health by preventing
erosion and enhancing water infiltration. Healthier soil contributes to overall ecosystem stability
and resilience.

5. Public Perception: Incorporating pollinator-friendly grass on solar farms can improve the public’s
perception of renewable energy projects. It demonstrates the commitment of energy
companies to environmental stewardship and community well-being.

6. Educational Opportunities: Pollinator-friendly solar farms can serve as educational tools for the
public, schools, and local communities. They offer opportunities for environmental education,
raising awareness about the importance of pollinators and the role of renewable energy in
combating climate change.

Integrating pollinator-friendly grass on solar farms embodies the harmony between clean energy
production and biodiversity conservation. These sustainable landscapes create flourishing habitats for
pollinators and wildlife while providing various benefits, including increased solar panel efficiency and
improved crop yields. Embracing pollinator-friendly grass on solar farms fosters environmental resilience and enhances community engagement and public perception of renewable energy projects. As we forge toward a greener future, prioritizing these innovative conservation efforts demonstrates our commitment to a harmonious coexistence with nature.

Common Solar Power Myths: Debunking Misconceptions About Solar Energy

Solar power has gained popularity as a clean, renewable energy source over the past few decades.
However, along with its growing acceptance, several myths and misconceptions have emerged,
hindering the widespread adoption of this eco-friendly technology. This article aims to debunk
some of the most common solar power myths and shed light on the truth behind them.

Myth 1: Solar panels are only effective in sunny regions.

Reality: While it's true that solar panels generate more electricity in direct sunlight, they can still
produce energy on cloudy days or in regions with less sunshine. Modern solar technology has improved
significantly, making it viable in various climates, including overcast or cold weather places. Solar
panels generate electricity, albeit at a slightly reduced efficiency, even during cloudy days.

Myth 2: Solar panels are too expensive and not cost-effective.

Reality: The cost of solar panels has drastically decreased, making them more affordable
than ever. Additionally, various financial incentives and government subsidies, such as tax credits and
rebates, are available to encourage homeowners and businesses to invest in solar energy. Although the
upfront cost may seem significant, the long-term savings on electricity bills often outweigh the initial
investment, making solar power a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Myth 3: Solar panels require constant maintenance.

Reality: Solar panels are designed to be durable and low-maintenance. They have no moving parts,
reducing the risk of mechanical failures. Routine cleaning to remove dirt and debris is generally
sufficient to maintain efficiency. Most reputable solar panel manufacturers offer warranties and
maintenance plans, further ensuring the longevity and performance of the panels.

Myth 4: Solar energy is not reliable, and storage is impractical.

Reality: While solar energy is intermittent, advancements in energy storage technologies, such as
batteries, have made it possible to store excess energy for later use. With efficient energy storage
solutions, solar power can provide a reliable energy source, even during grid outages or at night.

Myth 5: Solar energy is only suitable for residential use.

Reality: Solar power is not limited to residential applications. Many commercial and industrial
establishments are increasingly adopting solar energy to meet their power needs and reduce
operational costs. Moreover, large-scale solar farms are becoming common, contributing significantly to
the overall renewable energy mix.

In conclusion, dispelling these common solar power myths is crucial for fostering greater acceptance and
adoption of solar energy. As technology advances, solar power will play a pivotal role in
shaping our planet’s more sustainable and cleaner future. Understanding the reality of solar energy
is essential for making informed decisions about embracing this renewable energy source.

Creative Vegetation Management with Sheep

Maintaining the site vegetation is part of a regular operation for PV Solar Asset Managers with large ground mounts. Typical management includes grass cutting and weed abatement. Using landscapers and grassmowers to maintain the site has been industry standard. However, a new creative green solution for controlling the vegetation on site is using sheep. The sheep graze on grass and weeds across the entire site. They require little oversight and management. They require no gas or electricity to power. And they are competitively cost-effective when compared to mowing. Sheep maintenance may not be the right solution for every solar array, but it creates a solution in a growing solar industry.

Every commercial job in Solar has Permitting Challenges.

Permitting can be a complex process with various regulations and requirements to be met. Such challenges may include obtaining multiple permits, meeting zoning regulations, and navigating local and state codes. Additionally, financial and technical hurdles such as the cost of installation, the availability of funding, and the complexity of the technology can also be a challenge. To overcome these challenges, it is important to have an understanding of the permitting process, understand zoning regulations, and explore potential funding sources. Collaborating with local officials and organizations such as solar-energy associations can also be beneficial when dealing with permitting challenges.

 Gordian Energy Systems will navigate the process and challenges for you. Untie the Gordian Knot on solar projects.

Having a strong O&M provider can help minimize the potential for damage

When severe weather hits, it can potentially cause damage to solar PV systems. All solar systems are designed and engineered to withstand high wind events. Over the lifetime of a system, equipment can loosen or wear out. Performing annual or routine maintenance checks can help ensure all racking components are torqued to specification. Having a strong O&M provider can help minimize the potential for damage while maximizing your system’s lifespan. In addition, an intelligent system owner will inspect their system before or after storms to ensure equipment has not shifted.

Why should you choose rooftop solar for your commercial facility?

Whether or not to buy rooftop solar for your commercial facility depends on various factors, such as your energy needs, budget, and long-term goals. Here are some points to consider when making your decision:

Reasons to invest in rooftop solar for your commercial facility:

  1. Cost Savings: If your commercial facility has high energy usage, solar panels can help you save money on electricity bills by generating your own clean energy and reducing reliance on the grid. Additionally, commercial solar systems are eligible for tax credits, incentives, and other financial benefits that can reduce the overall cost of the installation.
  2. Sustainability: By investing in rooftop solar, you can demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. This can help improve your brand reputation and attract environmentally conscious customers.
  3. Energy Independence: With rooftop solar, you can generate your own clean energy, making your business less reliant on the grid. This can provide you with energy security during power outages and help reduce your carbon footprint.

Net Metering, Grid Dependency, and Battery Systems in Commercial Solar Deployments


The deployment of solar arrays in commercial environments has gained significant traction due to their environmental and economic benefits. There are some common misconceptions regarding the concepts of net metering, the role of solar arrays during power outages, and the use of battery systems to maintain business operations. This article aims to help clarify these topics, providing an overview of net metering and utilizing battery systems for backup power.

Net Metering:

Net metering happens when the power coming from the solar array is routed behind the meter and directly into the main distribution panel.  If a solar array produces more electricity than required, that surplus energy is sent back to the grid which “spins” the electricity meter backward. The business then receives credit for the excess electricity, which can be used to offset their future electricity consumption.

Grid Dependency and Solar Arrays:

Being grid-tied is part of a net metering array’s design.  During power outages, these grid-tied solar arrays shut down automatically for safety reasons.  In fact, the array must sense power from the grid for the array to turn back on after an outage – known as anti-islanding protection.  It would be dangerous to the utility workers attempting repairs if a grid-tied solar array continued producing electricity and pushed any excess power back to the grid.

Battery Systems for Backup Power:

To ensure uninterrupted business operations during power outages, a battery storage system can be integrated with a solar array.  Systems using batteries require special inverters that prevent islanding & pushing of excess electricity to the grid when the power goes out.  It is important to decide on incorporating a battery storage system early in the solar array design process, as it drives the overall design of the solar energy system.

When the grid is functioning correctly, excess solar-generated electricity charges the battery system and, once it is full, that energy flows back out to the grid. This stored energy can then be utilized in several different ways.

  1. As Backup Power: Businesses can continue to operate critical equipment and maintain essential services even when the grid is down. This ensures minimal disruption to operations and mitigates financial losses associated with power outages.  The key is designating which circuits are protected by the battery backup when the system is built.  Deciding on the battery system size and capacity is dictated by what it is protecting and how much power is consumed by those protected circuits.
  2. For Load Shifting: Battery systems allow businesses to shift their electricity usage patterns by storing solar energy generated during low-demand periods and utilizing it during peak-demand periods. This can help reduce electricity costs by avoiding high utility rates during peak hours.
  3. As a Demand Response Mechanism: Battery systems can also participate in demand response programs, where businesses reduce their electricity usage during times of high grid demand. By drawing power from the battery system instead of the grid during peak hours, businesses contribute to grid stability and may receive financial incentives.

In summary, solar arrays, combined with battery backup systems, can enhance a business’s energy resilience, reduce their reliance on the grid, and take advantage of cost-saving opportunities such as load shifting and participation in demand response programs. The combination of solar arrays, net metering, and battery systems represents a powerful solution for commercial entities aiming to achieve sustainable energy practices and improved resiliency in the event of a power outage.

Solar panels can be deployed where? The unique future of solar installations.

Solar panels are typically installed on Roofs, commercial warehouses, and farm fields. But what about all the other wasted spaces?  Parking lots are a great open space to put a solar canopy. And parking garages could have a solar canopy on the top floor. Deployment of solar often turns a big open empty space into a money-generating space.

What about other creative spaces? Floating arrays over large bodies of water and lakes; on top of a Tractor-trailer trailer; the future of solar will include thinking about creative spaces to maximize the green energy and to maximize energy savings.