According to a recent article from the Coalition for Community Solar Access, 2021 was a year of significant progress for community solar markets across the United States. New markets have opened, existing markets have expanded, and community solar has become a bipartisan issue in Washington. With millions of dollars flowing into the community solar sector, and the federal government becoming more supportive of the shared solar model, we’ve decided to take a closer look at what’s happening in the top community solar markets in 2022.
Top Community Solar Markets in 2022
Below you’ll find a list of the top community solar markets in the country in 2022, with a little bit of information on how each market progressed in 2021, and what the future holds for community solar in each of these states.
In 2021 Delaware updated its community solar program, establishing a functioning market which will provide greater access for a wider range of the state’s population—particularly low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers. Specifically, an update to the existing community solar statute requires each community solar project to serve at least 15% LMI customers.
Illinois is just one of the states which built upon its existing community solar program in 2021, with a huge expansion from 213 megawatts to over 1.5 gigawatts, and an aim to hit this deployment target by 2030. This expansion will meet increased demand for shared solar while also including customers who may have been unable to access community solar in the past.
The Maryland Public Service Commission also opted to expand its community solar capacity, with the new capacity accommodating almost 7,000 additional homes in the state. Again, this expanded capacity will improve access for LMI customers statewide.
2021 saw the launch of year two of the New Jersey Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, alongside a commitment to make the program permanent by February 2022 and significant investment towards expanding community solar in the state. This increased investment will also support a new dual-use solar program, improving solar equity and access for NJ residents.
New Mexico finally welcomed the opening of its own community solar market in 2021, as legislators passed SB 84—a bill enabling a community solar program for the state.
In 2021, New York added a program dedicated to increasing access for LMI customers, and also announced a goal & roadmap to power 700,000 additional homes per year. This includes a plan for 40% of the program's benefits to be delivered to disadvantaged communities and low-income residents in the state. Like Illinois, NY is scheduled to hit these targets by 2030.
Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin
These four states (Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have also taken steps towards the introduction of community solar programs in the near future, with each of the four currently considering legislation which would open up their own community solar markets. The legislation under consideration in each state is noted below.
Michigan: HB 4715-16.
Ohio: HB 450.
Pennsylvania: SB 472.
Wisconsin: LRB 1902.
To learn more about community solar—how it works and how much you could save—check out our in-depth community solar FAQ here.
The Benefits of Solar Land Leasing
A big reason for the growth of community solar in 2021, and the likelihood of continuing growth through 2022 and beyond, is the urban-rural partnership which is generated by solar land leasing and community solar working in tandem. Farming can often be an unpredictable, unstable business, but leasing for solar development creates a consistent, predictable income stream for landowners. As noted by Jennifer Spinois, general counsel & SVP at CleanChoice Energy, this earning potential for landowners has contributed to growing interest in states considering community solar legislation, such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Some of the best states for landowners to lease land for solar farm projects include:
Interested in community solar? Get in touch today. YSG will identify the ideal community solar subscription for your energy needs and guide you through the entire subscription process from start to finish. Call the office at 212.389.9215 or send us an email to learn how much you could save by going solar with YSG.
YSG Solar is a project development company responsible for commoditizing energy infrastructure projects. We work with long-term owners and operators to provide clean energy assets with stable, predictable cash flows. YSG's market focus is distributed generation and utility-scale projects located within North America.