Community solar is gaining momentum across the United States, making solar energy available to more people than ever before. One of the keys to facilitating shared solar is policy. “An interesting facet of policy is what it enables people to do within a given state,” Anna Brockway, SunShot Fellow at the US Department of Energy, said in a panel discussion. “If a state has some sort of virtual benefit legislation—like virtual net metering—that enables different types of shared models than wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”
Virtual net metering allows multiple homeowners to participate in the same metering system and share the output from a single facility that is not physically connected to their property (or their meter). This scheme goes a step beyond net metering, which allows individuals to sell excess energy produced by their on-site solar system back to the utility grid and receive credits on their electric bill. . . .