A new concept in renewable energy is catching fire across the country, allowing customers who might find solar panels too expensive or impractical to buy green energy anyway.
Community solar gardens first took root in Colorado. The model is now spreading to Minnesota, California, Massachusetts and several other states.
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The gardens feed electricity into the power grid. Customers subscribe to that power and get credit on their utility bills, with contracts that typically lock in for 25 years and shelter against rate increases.
Capacity is expected to grow sharply this year. Interest is growing among residential customers who want power from the sun, and among large companies that want to cut their carbon footprints.