The price of solar cells is falling, but installing an array of solar panels is still beyond the means of many people. Individual pockets of solar power won’t solve the overall energy issue anyway.
One possible solution is a community solar garden. According to The New York Times these setups allow customers to buy into a local solar array and get a credit on their electricity bill. They first appeared in Colorado but have also spread across the country with the help of friendly legislation in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C.
Basically, a developer builds a group of solar panels and sells the output of a given amount to a customer based on individual energy needs. That power translate to a certain amount taken off the customer’s electricity bill each month. That amount varies depending on how utility companies bill.
Because of their centralized setup, solar gardens can also be placed in areas based on optimization of sunlight. Interest in the panels is also generally transferrable, allowing customers to pass it on to someone else if they move.