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Community Solar Vs Utility Solar

A large solar farm with rows of solar panels with green fields can be seen from above in this panoramic image. This solar farm has many solar panels that make electricity for the grid. It is also known as solar gardens, parks, solar power stations, and photovoltaic power stations.

Some solar farms use rooftops or parking areas on buildings, but most put solar panels on the ground in dedicated farms. Constructing such solar farms demands significant open space.

For many years, utility-scale solar has consistently produced dependable and eco-friendly energy at an economically feasible cost. Establishing solar power plants is crucial in maintaining equilibrium between environmental conservation, meeting energy demands, and achieving climate-related goals.

The solar energy sector has the potential to generate employment opportunities globally and diversify the energy supply. Implementing government regulations that foster the expansion of utility-scale solar projects can achieve this. Developing large-scale solar power is a fast way to reduce carbon emissions and move businesses towards sustainable energy.

Within the realm of solar power, two main models have emerged – community solar and utility solar farms. In this blog, we will look at these two method’s differences, benefits, and effects on energy production.

What are Community Solar Farms?

Community Solar Vs Utility Solar

Community solar farms, or small-scale solar projects, are important for moving towards sustainable energy. These projects typically span a few acres of land and harness the sun’s power through photovoltaic (PV) systems. Solar systems with arrays generate electricity on a small scale, benefiting specific communities with localized power.

Utility Solar

Community solar is when people, groups, or communities work together to build a solar system. This system is also known as shared solar or community-owned solar. The participants then use the energy generated by this system. 

People who sign up for these programs can benefit from the energy generated by a communal solar project. This means they do not need to install solar panels on their houses.

Community solar is a good option for those who can’t afford solar panels. It provides solar energy to homes and businesses. This way, they can still benefit from renewable energy.

Furthermore, community solar enables individuals to power their residences and businesses with solar energy in areas where installing solar panels might not be permissible. These community solar projects contribute to a sustainable energy source while reducing carbon emissions, fostering a more environmentally conscious community ethos.

Utility Scale Solar Farms:

Utility-scale solar farms are hard to define because of various factors. These factors include their location, size, solar power connection type, and state laws. The size, location, connection to power, and state regulations affect utility-scale solar farms.

The solar farm’s size, location, and connection to power all play a role in defining it. State laws also play a significant role in determining what constitutes a utility-scale solar farm.

Typically, utility-scale solar farms generate 5 MW of power or more, surpassing the size of community solar farms. These expansive installations sprawl across acres of land and boast thousands of individual solar panels. Solar developers often arrange panels in attractive patterns visible from airplanes because of their size. An illustrative example is Walt Disney World, which fashioned a solar farm in the shape of Mickey Mouse.

A defining characteristic of utility-scale solar farms lies in their direct sale of electricity to the electrical grid. Unlike distributed generation systems behind the meter, utility-scale solar projects typically position themselves in front of the meter. This system tailors to the facility’s energy load and delivers electricity directly to meet the facility’s power needs. The utility-scale solar facility harnesses solar energy to generate electricity, contributing it to the grid to power a utility.

Nearly all utility-scale solar installations operate under a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a utility. This contractual arrangement ensures a dedicated market for their electricity over a specified period.

The Capacity of Utility-Scale Solar Farm

The photovoltaic industry has experienced significant growth since 2010, leading to an impressive increase. By the close of 2018, the global installed solar PV capacity had surged to a minimum of 480 gigawatts. Most of the extra capacity in many areas comes from large utility-scale systems, not smaller ones.

Experts project that solar power will account for approximately 60% of the world’s electricity by 2050. This represents a significant shift in our energy sources. We expect the transition to solar power to have an incredible impact on how we obtain energy in the future. The distinctive characteristics of utility-scale solar farms, particularly their size and substantial power output, differentiate them from other distributed solar alternatives.

Large solar farms cover a lot of land and can produce up to 1 gigawatt of energy. The Solar Industries Association reports that over 37,000 megawatts of utility-scale solar power are installed. Additionally, another 12,000 megawatts are presently being developed.

In the context of utility-scale solar farms, power purchase agreements (PPAs) frequently replace direct ownership by the utility. These agreements sell energy to utility buyers, who deliver it to homes or businesses through the electric grid. This approach streamlines providing solar-generated electricity to end-users through established utility networks.

Key Difference: Community Solar vs Utility Solar

The key difference between community solar and utility-scale solar is ownership and distribution of the generated power. In community solar, the energy produced belongs to the community or its members. Utility companies own and operate utility-scale solar arrays. The energy they generate enters the grid, powering the whole neighborhood.

One of the main differences between the two kinds of solar farms is the size of the installations. Solar developers typically establish small-scale community solar projects to serve a specific community or group of subscribers. Utility-scale solar projects are much bigger and can power cities or regions with much electricity.

Comparing the


1:Environmetal Impact:

Community solar farms offer a decentralized way to produce energy, lessening the reliance on long-distance electricity transmission. This can result in lower energy losses during transportation, minimizing the environmental impact and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Utility solar farms, while efficient, may require extensive transmission infrastructure, potentially impacting local ecosystems.


Community solar projects let people and businesses use clean energy without spending much money initially. This helps them save on electricity costs. Utility companies may have more rules for large-scale solar farms and may be the only ones allowed to develop them.

3: Land Use Efficiency:

You can place small solar farms in various locations. These locations include brownfields or less valuable agricultural land. This allows for better utilization of the land.

Utility solar farms require a large amount of land. This could lead to problems with land efficiency. It may also compete with other land uses.

4: Economic Impact:

Community solar projects can contribute to the local economy by creating jobs and stimulating investment within the community. Utility solar farms may have a different localized economic impact while employing construction and maintenance.


To sum up, we need utility-scale and neighborhood solar to meet the growing need for clean energy. Large-scale solar projects benefit densely populated urban areas. Community solar is a good choice for people who can’t put solar panels on their homes or businesses.

It allows them to access solar energy without having to install panels themselves. This makes solar power more accessible to a broader range of people.

Understanding these differences helps people pick the right method that suits them best. It is all about giving everyone a shot at solar power, no matter where they live or what they can afford.

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