New Community Solar Project Aims to Bring Renewable Energy to Underserved Communities

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by | Jan 12, 2022

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(Credit: Pixabay)

A community solar platform is set to launch and bring up to 3 gigawatts of renewable energy and its benefits to the local level and underserved communities.

The project is called Reactivate and is being financed and developed by renewable energy companies Lafayette Square and Invenergy. By 2030, Reactivate seeks to save $50 million in energy costs for its users in addition to the development of the 3 GW of renewable energy.

The platform will focus on community solar projects, small-scale utility solar projects and other efforts including energy storage, building electrification and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Lafayette Square and Invenergy will provide capital, technical assistance and personnel to build and operate Reactivate.

The companies expect to develop the solar energy projects primarily serving low-to-moderate income communities and those areas disproportionately impacted by clean energy transition. They say Reactivate will make an impact by increasing access to renewable energy and provide energy cost savings to those who subscribe to the solar projects to receive credits to energy bills.

“By bringing together capital, technology, experienced solar operators and targeted employee training programs, we believe we can create a more inclusive and localized renewable energy production model benefitting historically marginalized communities,” Lafayette Founder and CEO Damien Dwin says.

Solar power continues to lead the United States in a renewable energy transition, and community solar projects like Reactivate can make the energy source more accessible.

According to the US Department of Energy, community solar is any solar project or purchasing program within a geographic area in which the solar energy production benefits multiple individuals, businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. Most of the time the energy is generated by panels at an off-site array.

Customers can buy or lease a portion of the solar panels and usually receive credits to their utility bills for electricity generated by their share of the community solar project, the Department of Energy says, similar to if they had individual rooftop panels installed. The Department of Energy says community solar is a good option for those who can’t install their own systems.

As of 2020, there were more than 1,250 community solar projects installed in the US, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. About a third of states have policies enabling community solar.

In 2021, White Plains, New York, installed what was said to be the largest community solar project in the country. The 6.8 megawatt project was aided by the New York Power Authority and tripled the amount of solar energy produced in Westchester County.

Invenergy has developed 190 renewable energy projects across the world. Lafayette Square aims to help communities develop local and affordable renewable energy.

Reactivate will be managed by a board of directors that includes Dwin and Renee Beaumont of Lafayette Square and Michael Polsky and Jim Murphy of Invenergy.

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