October 19, 2023

Adapting Community Solar Programs for Multifamily EV Charging


5 Min. Read

Community solar programs are a practical way for multifamily property owners and managers to benefit from the advantages of solar energy. They generate enough electricity to power amenities while reducing energy bills.

A community solar project also offers the unique opportunity to integrate with EV charging infrastructure. It is a cost-effective solution for tenants who own electric vehicles (EVs) and can ensure their retention.

In this article, we explore the ways these programs are implemented in multifamily properties and how promoting a more sustainable environment for the community can enhance their appeal.

Understanding Community Solar Programs

Community solar programs are an innovative solution that allows multifamily properties and HOA communities to benefit from solar energy. They provide access to and benefits from solar power even for those without the space or resources for individual solar panels.

Solar power will help consumers lower their energy bills. However, only some have the space to accommodate solar panels. Others might find the installation and equipment costs prohibitive. For owners and residents of multifamily properties, community solar programs are the solution to these challenges.

A community solar project involves a group of participants who collectively invest in a solar energy system, often located off-site. They receive credits on their electricity bills based on their share of the energy produced by the solar array. The project allows individuals to source power directly without installing panels on their properties.

Solar arrays can be strategically placed in locations receiving maximum sunlight, ensuring optimal energy production. This way, communities can generate electricity without any additional effort or maintenance.

Installing the arrays in areas with unobstructed sunlight, including rooftops and open fields, can generate more electricity. It can also offset a significant portion of energy consumption.

In addition, utilizing otherwise wasted space, such as carports and other covered structures, for solar panels can ensure optimum utilization of available space.

Community solar programs offer the advantage of scale as well. By pooling resources, multifamily properties and HOAs can invest in larger solar arrays for greater energy generation capacity.

This is an efficient way for multifamily properties and HOAs to generate clean, renewable energy for the entire community. Residents can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and lower their carbon footprint while enjoying the financial benefits.

Integrating Community Solar With EV Charging

Community solar-powered EV charging stations promote tenant satisfaction as they enjoy the perk of reduced electricity bills and the convenience and accessibility of charging stations close to their homes. These amenities also attract future renters who already own EVs or are simply eco-conscious.

Further, installing solar EV charging stations does not only contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps you future-proof the community around your multifamily property from potential regulatory changes and increased demand for EV infrastructure.

If you are a multifamily property owner or manager, these are your key considerations when implementing solar-powered community EV charging stations:

Assessing Property Needs

Determining the feasibility of incorporating EV charging infrastructure into the community solar energy system is important. You will gain the buy-in of your residents when they see its benefits.

Evaluate your property’s community EV charging infrastructure requirements, considering current and future demand, available space, and charging station types. Level 2 chargers are typically used in multifamily settings owing to their charging speed and convenience.

Partnering With A Solar Provider

Select a reputable solar provider with experience in implementing community solar projects and a track record of successful installations to ensure that the community solar program you execute is custom-designed to suit your property. For example, Qmerit can design a customized community solar program that works on your property and guarantees seamless integration with an existing solar energy system.

Consider the provider’s pricing structure and contract terms to ensure they align with your budget and long-term goals.

Optimizing System Performance

Utilize smart charging solutions and energy management systems to maximize the efficiency and performance of a combined solar and EV charging setup.

Monitoring and maintaining the community’s solar and EV charging infrastructure is also crucial. Regular inspections, repairs, and system upgrades may be necessary to maintain optimal performance.

By keeping these key factors in mind, you can successfully provide a sustainable and cost-effective solution for your residents with EVs.

Benefits of Community Solar-Powered EV Charging

Integrating EV charging into community solar is a smart and innovative solution that can benefit multifamily properties and HOA communities. Property owners and managers can educate tenants about the advantages and the associated benefits through proper communication channels such as bulletins, flyers, and emails.

You should also consider providing clear and concise information on how the system works, access requirements, usage criteria, and any associated costs. This information will promote participation and encourage residents to embrace your clean and renewable energy project.

Lower Electricity Cost

The most obvious benefit of a community solar program is the financial savings achieved through significant reductions in the energy cost of common property amenities such as outdoor lighting, a clubhouse, and a pool.

Residents will save money when they source electricity from solar panels and generate excess energy, which they can use to power a shared microgrid or nanogrid. It may be redirected to other amenities they wish to add, such as a community center.

Lower electricity bills are especially significant for properties with multiple residents charging their EVs on-site. You can use economies of scale and reduce the overall cost of implementing EV charging infrastructure. Meanwhile, your tenants will enjoy this amenity on a more affordable and accessible level.

Installing community solar-powered EV charging stations in your multifamily property paves the way for a clean energy collaboration between you and your tenants. Together, you can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Enhanced Property Appeal

Solar-powered EV charging stations have the potential to significantly boost the real and perceived value of your multifamily property. You can tap into the market of environmentally conscious tenants who prioritize sustainable living.

This unique feature also differentiates your property from competitors, positioning you as a leader in the drive toward a cleaner future. It also makes your property eligible for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, further upgrading its reputation.

Power Your Multifamily Property With Solar Today!

Multifamily EV charging stations are an excellent opportunity to increase your properties’ revenues and marketability. However, there are uncertainties in the process that can be made clear by a careful planning process with a company with a track record for success with EV charging implementation.

Qmerit is the leading installer of EV charging stations in homes and multifamily properties in the U.S. With a long track record and deep experience in EV charging, Qmerit stays with you from start to finish. Contact us to navigate your multifamily project to success.

Author: Tom Bowen

Tom Bowen

President, Qmerit Solutions and Commercial Electrification