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The climate needs your help, the water needs your help, the land needs your help. In 2019 be part of the solution. The soil you walk on and grow food in holds a secret to some of the biggest problems facing the planet today.
Here are just some of the ways you can be part of the solution to regenerate the planet in 2019 and beyond, starting with soil:
1. Watch and share our new video.
Learn how to make 2019 the year you got involved in the movement to regenerate the planet. Watch the video below:
2. Compost at home.
3. Grow your own food.
Learn how to create your own regenerative garden in your backyard. Check out the post below:
5 Ways to Make Your Garden Regenerative https://t.co/iM7wdFBxew— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1538648591.0
4. Become a Soil Advocate!
The next Kiss the Ground Soil Advocate Training begins on Jan. 15. Learn how to powerfully present the topics of soil health and regenerative agriculture as solutions to climate change, water scarcity and feeding the world.
5. Support a Farmer to be Trained in Regenerative Agriculture!
Our Farmland Program provides scholarships for producers to attend trainings and provides the technical support needed for them to successfully transition to soil focused regenerative agricultural management practices. For $5,500 you can fund the transition of a farm to one that regenerates land. This includes training, travel costs, consulting time, and soil testing. Learn more about our new Fund a Farmer Program.
6. Become a Kiss the Ground Member.
By becoming a member, your monthly donations make it possible for us to educate youth, consumers, and businesses, create media, train farmers, and advocate for healthy soils across the globe. In addition, members are granted access to resources and monthly member "Living Regeneratively" webinars designed to provide you with tools to help you explore regeneration in your own life, decolonize your mind, connect to nature, and become a steward of the planet. Learn more.
- 5 Ways to Make Your Garden Regenerative ›
- Climate Change Makes Soils Saltier, Forcing Farmers to Find New ... ›
Planting a garden has the power to change the world. Regenerative gardens can help reverse global warming by restoring soil health. We're bringing victory gardens back. This time, it's for the climate.
Our friends Ron Finley and Rosario Dawson explain how you can make your home garden regenerative in this new video premiere from Kiss The Ground and Green America.
What is a Climate Victory Garden and Why Is It Important?
"Climate Victory Gardens" were inspired by the "Victory Gardens" planted during the first and second World Wars. By 1944, nearly 20 million victory gardens produced eight million tons of food, equaling over 40 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in the U.S. at the time. These victory gardens fed Americans at home, to make more farm-raised food available for the troops abroad.
We are once again in the position where we, as everyday citizens, have the opportunity to use our gardens as a force for change. Instead of gardening in support of war efforts, we are gardening to fight global warming.
Even your small home garden can utilize regenerative farming practices like keeping the soil covered, not tilling, encouraging biodiversity, using compost, avoiding the use of chemicals and creating fertility onsite.
"We have communities nationwide that are food prisons that could be producing their own organic food while addressing climate change. By educating the public about regeneratively homegrown food, Climate Victory Gardens are raising awareness about one of the biggest global challenges of our time and showing Americans how they can make a difference for themselves, their households, and their communities. Soil Equals Life."
— Ron Finley of The Ron Finley Project
A very special thanks to Green America, Rosario Dawson, Ron Finley and the Ron Finley Project, our amazing film crew and to Kellogg Garden Products for their support in bringing this video to life—and thank YOU in advance for helping us share this video and supporting the regeneration of our planet, one garden at a time.
If you live in an apartment without its own roof or if you're a business owner renting a commercial space, a community solar project may help you save on electric bills. Community solar power is a great option for individuals and businesses who can't install their own solar panels.
You can join a community solar project by purchasing a share or by paying a subscription. Then, the electricity production that corresponds to your ownership percentage or subscription will be measured and subtracted from your power bills. This is possible even if the community solar panel installation isn't located in your neighborhood — by investing in the project, your share of the solar generation is simply subtracted from your bill.
In this article, we'll outline the pros and cons of community solar subscriptions and help you decide whether to invest in your local program.
What is Community Solar?
Community solar is a term used to describe photovoltaic systems that are shared by many consumers, including homeowners, renters, businesses, nonprofit organizations and more. Electricity savings and other benefits from the solar project are split among its shareholders and subscribers at a rate based on the level of investment.
When starting a community solar project, developers will establish the geographic area from which consumers are eligible to join. Some programs have installed multiple solar power systems in the same area, allowing a larger number of shareholders and solar subscribers.
Community solar power is possible thanks to virtual net metering. Through this process, a percentage of the electricity produced by the community solar panels is subtracted from the total amount of power you use in your home even though the panels aren't located on your property. Here are a few key things to note:
- The kilowatt-hours produced by a community solar project are measured for each billing period and are divided based on ownership shares.
- If a community solar array produces 10,000 kWh of electricity and you own 5% of the project, you get 500 kWh for that billing period.
- The value of those 500 kWh will be subtracted from your power bill, so if you use, for example, 750 kWh of electricity in your home, you'd only pay your utility company for 250 kWh.
Benefits of Community Solar
The main benefit of community solar is saving on power bills, especially in places with high electricity prices and abundant sunshine. However, the concept of sharing a solar array brings many other benefits, both technical and economic. These include:
- Community solar can be used by homeowners or renters who can't install rooftop or ground-mounted solar panels. Some roof structures are not suitable for solar panels, and others are too shaded from surrounding buildings or objects to be effective. Community solar may also be an option if you live in an apartment without its own roof or if you simply don't like the appearance of rooftop solar panels.
- You can easily take your solar savings to another home or apartment. If you install solar panels and decide to move in a few years, you must either sell them or take them with you. On the other hand, when joining a community solar project, you can simply assign the savings to your new address.
- You can sometimes sell or donate your community solar share (depending on program conditions). This is useful if you move to a location that is not covered by the community solar program or if you decide to install your own solar panels in the future.
- Community solar supports a more diverse customer base. To install your own solar panels, you must have the cash for an upfront payment or qualify for a loan. This financial barrier is eliminated with community solar — consumers can pay a monthly subscription or can purchase a small share according to their budget.
- With community solar, you can forget about maintenance and part replacements. Solar panels need regular cleaning to stay productive, and components like inverters and solar batteries must usually be replaced after about 10 years. However, you don't have to worry about maintenance with community solar, as there is a project developer in charge.
- Community solar shareholders are eligible for the federal solar tax credit. When purchasing a share of a community solar project, you can deduct 26% of your investment on your next tax declaration. Just keep in mind that this benefit is not available when joining as a subscriber, since technically you don't own a part of the community solar farm.
Community solar is an easier alternative to installing your own solar power system. The project developer is responsible for financing, installation, operation and maintenance, and you can reduce your electricity bills by simply buying a share of the project or subscribing.
However, installing your own solar power system also brings many benefits. You save the full economic value of the electricity generated, for example. Onsite solar power also increases the value of homes and commercial buildings, and many incentive programs are only available when you buy solar panels directly.
If you're weighing each option, it can be helpful to get a free quote for a home solar installation. Fill out the form below to get connected with a top solar company near you.
How Does Community Solar Work?
In a few words, community solar lets you save on power bills with a shared photovoltaic array, instead of having your own system. However, not all community solar projects are alike, and they can be classified into several types:
- On-site vs. off-site
- Ownership vs. subscription
Community solar should not be confused with group purchasing, which happens when many homeowners or businesses purchase individual solar systems at bulk prices. This does not count as community solar, since the project is split into many private installations.
On-Site Vs. Off-Site Community Solar
Many real estate developers use on-site community solar projects in their residential, commercial or mixed-use projects. The electricity generated by solar panels reaches consumers through a private power system, without depending on the local electric grid. On the other hand, off-site community solar is supplied via the grid.
Here are the main benefits and drawbacks of each type of community solar project:
|On-Site Community Solar||Off-Site Community Solar|
|Pros||On-site community solar systems often achieve higher savings — because they don't use the local electric grid, they don't pay transmission and distribution fees to a utility company.||Off-site community solar projects can serve a larger number of customers. You can also keep your ownership share or subscription when moving to another address, as long as you stay within the project's service area.|
|Cons||On-site community solar is only available for local property owners and tenants of communities that have installed these energy projects.||Depending on limitations with your local power grid, you may not yield as high of savings with off-site community solar.|
Ownership Vs. Subscription Model
Community solar projects offer ownership shares and subscriptions. Some projects only have one option available, while others let you choose. You can save on power bills with both options, but understanding the differences between them is important:
- When you purchase an ownership share in a community solar project, the corresponding percentage of power generation is yours for the entire service life of the project. Also, since you're a partial owner of the system, you can claim 26% of your investment as a federal tax deduction. However, owning part of a community solar project means you must have the capital to pay upfront.
- When you subscribe to a community solar project, there is no upfront investment. Instead, you pay a monthly fee. This means there is an ongoing cost, but the corresponding power bill savings are higher than the subscription fee. Keep in mind that subscription costs may increase over time, while an ownership share represents a single upfront payment.
Each option has pros and cons — you will generally save more when you become a shareholder in a community solar project, but a subscription comes with zero upfront cost. Also, consider that you must sell your share if you move to a location not covered by a community solar project, while a subscription can be easily canceled.
Is Community Solar Available Near You?
Community solar offers many benefits, but it is not available nationwide. To scale these types of projects, state governments must first enable this business model by law. Also, developers are more likely to invest in community solar projects if market conditions are favorable. Generally, the best states for solar power are those with incentive programs, abundant sunshine and/or high electricity prices.
There are currently 40 states with at least one community solar project in operation, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reported that 3.1 GW of community solar were online and operational by the end of Q1 2021. There is an optimistic outlook for community solar, and the SEIA has forecast a growth of 4 GW over the next five years. Each gigawatt of solar power can cover the electricity needs of around 186,000 American homes.
If you're interested in community solar power, you can check local government and utility websites — there could be several projects available near you.
FAQs: Community Solar
Is community solar legit?
Like all power generation projects, community solar systems are subject to laws and regulations. If you look for a developer that uses high-quality solar components and qualified installers, community solar is a reliable option to save on power bills for many years.
Is community solar a good deal?
To join a community solar project, you must become a shareholder with an upfront investment or pay an ongoing subscription. The power bill savings achieved will be higher than your monthly utility payments in both cases, but depending on the pricing model of your community's program, one option may present a better deal than the other.
What is community solar, and how does it work?
Community solar is an alternative to installing your own solar panels: You participate in a shared solar project as a shareholder or subscriber, and you get part of the electricity produced. This is a great option for individuals or companies who can't install their own solar panel systems due to lack of space or other limitations.
How does community solar make money?
Based on your ownership share or subscription type, you get part of the electricity produced by a community solar array. The kilowatt-hours generated are subtracted from your power bill — just like when you own solar panels directly.
Leonardo David is an electromechanical engineer, MBA, energy consultant and technical writer. His energy-efficiency and solar consulting experience covers sectors including banking, textile manufacturing, plastics processing, pharmaceutics, education, food processing, fast food, real estate and retail. He has also been writing articles about energy and engineering topics since 2015.
One of the biggest things we can do to revolutionize regenerative farming is to focus on perennials!
A plant being perennial means it lives for multiple years and can be harvested each year. Compare this to a plant that seeds and dies every year, and needs to replanted and retilled each year. Perennials are able to grow much longer roots that can feed more of the soil biology, and as a result of their longer life create less soil disturbance and compaction.
This doesn't mean we should only plant perennials though. The solution is polyculture! This means we need to plant different crops in the same space; both annuals and perennials! Annuals are not bad, but monocultured ecosystems destroy diversity, especially when they are all annual plants that disappear entirely every year. When we use polyculture we emulate nature, and that's always a good thing. The more biodiversity the better!
Waste is a human invention. We are the only creatures on Earth that don't live a zero waste existence. The result? More than 60 billion pounds of mineral-rich food materials unnecessarily go to landfills each year in the U.S. alone.
Become a composting household and divert your family's food waste from a landfill into compost; which will not only supercharge your garden, it can help reverse climate change. Need more convincing? Check out The Compost Story.