In this week’s news roundup, we discuss a bill establishing community solar in Ohio, and a new solar system design with multiple sustainability benefits in California.
Ohio community solar bill advances in legislature
Community solar is a great way for people who rent or can’t install solar on their property to still take advantage of some of its benefits. Unfortunately, some states – including Ohio – don’t yet have laws in place to support the development of community solar projects. However, House Bill 450, introduced in October 2021, would allow the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to approve up to 2,000 megawatts (MW) of community solar arrays.
This bill would pave the way for Ohio to join the growing list of states with community solar markets, enabling it to quickly increase its share of renewable energy as well as the accessibility of solar to many Ohio residents. The bill stipulates that each approved community solar project must include at least 60 percent small, residential sized subscriptions. The bill also sets aside 1,000 additional MW specifically for brownfields and economically distressed sites.
New solar infrastructure design approved to be tested in California
The Turlock Irrigation District (TID) is partnering with the Department of Water Resource (DWR), Solar AquaGrid, and the University of California, Merced to install a solar system over a canal. The project’s design was based on a 2021 study from the University of California, Merced and UC Santa Cruz which found that covering water irrigation canals in California with solar panels could result in the production of 13 gigawatts (GW) of electricity annually, while also reducing water lost to evaporation. The study predicts that the project would generate enough electricity for California to reach half of its goal of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2030. The project is set to begin construction at several sites in 2024, and has an expected budget of $20 million.