With virtual Net metering, sometimes referred to as Solar Gardens or Community Energy Generating Facilities, an array of solar panels is placed in a field, or installed on the roof of an apartment building, a box store, or any place where there is good solar access. A solar project developer obtains the land or building site, installs the panels, and then finds investors or subscribers to pay for the panels. The subscribers likely live off site but get credit for the power generated by the panels they have purchased through a reduction in their home utility bill.
This is another approach that is being tried in other states but is not allowed by law yet in the state of Maryland. A bill of this nature was proposed in the Maryland General Assembly during the last session but did not pass.
A virtual net metering law or as it has been called here in the Maryland legislature, “Community Energy Generating Facilities”, would be an important step forward in giving the 80% of Americans (or Marylanders) who cannot install solar on their residences an opportunity for the first time. This would include all renters.
**Stay tuned for more information and updates about the future of Community Energy or contact Dave Brosch (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get involved in this campaign**
To learn more about what shared renewables models look like, check out the Interstate Renewable Energy Council “IREC-Model-Rules-for-Shared-Renewable-Energy-Programs-2013“