Community solar gardens, also called community shared solar, are projects where participants buy or lease a portion of a large distributed solar system and are able to utilize the solar generation from the system against their electricity bill. Community solar gardens have the potential to greatly expand the market for solar by providing customers who cannot or do not want to host solar on their own rooftop the opportunity to benefit from a solar installation. In return, community solar gardens can provide a host of benefits to participants including, but not limited to, increased electricity rate stability, potential bill savings, and a cost-effective way to reach sustainability goals.
Lotus has completed technical reviews of solar garden proposals for multiple municipalities to help them better understand the implications of participating in a solar garden. By performing multiple 'what-if' scenarios, we provide a thorough analysis of the opportunities and long term risks of signing a solar garden agreement. We have also evaluated the potential of community solar to help ease low-income energy burden. Our hope is that we can help nonprofits, government agencies, and utilities better serve low-income populations through reduced energy costs. Our expertise has also been highlighted on NREL's community solar working group and in the award-winning Natural Gas and Electricity Journal where we wrote an article titled Community Solar Presents Rewards and Risks.
Emily Artale, Principal Engineer and Co-owner at Lotus Engineering and Sustainability
Emily has been an environmental and sustainability consultant for over a decade. Her education and work experience began in water quality and evolved to energy and sustainability. She started Lotus in 2012 because she saw gap in many of the environmental and sustainability related services being offered. Emily has worked with private companies developing greenhouse gas emission inventories, integrating sustainable practices into corporate operations, and tracking performance metrics. She has helped public agencies develop, manage, and execute energy efficiency programs, navigate through energy performance contracting projects, assess risk scenarios for engaging in renewable energy systems, and help cities develop climate action plans. As part of a UN sponsored initiative, she worked with world renown sustainability expert, Hunter Lovins, on redefining manufacturing using sustainable practices.
She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in environmental engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is a Colorado native and spends most of her time outdoors with her family.