For Americans, solar power can now come without the panel

Solar isn’t an option for people who have no rooftop of their own, or without reasonable solar prices. There are 113 million homeowners in markets with competitively-priced solar power, but because of poor credit, 90% of them can’t get solar panel installation loans at terms favorable enough to make the panels financially viable.
A startup is now separating solar from the rooftop. Arcadia Power launched a community solar program Nov. 3 that lets customers buy solar panels anywhere in the US, technically, they buy a tiny share of a Power Purchase Agreement from a solar project, and pay their energy bills with sales from its electricity.
Each $350 “panel” purchased by Arcadia’s customers generates about $5 per month through sales to the local power grid. Customers can buy as many panels as they wish, and each generates power for 15 to 20 years. The panels typically pay for themselves within about about seven years, claims Aracadia. For the average household paying $114 in electricity (pdf) per month, 25 panels can zero out their power bill for decades.
Arcadia monitors the grid connection at each solar installation, including projects in Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and California, and automatically distributes revenue from the solar power through customers’ utility bills with one of Arcadia’s 100 partner utilities (although they can’t exchange those credits for cash). Since Arcadia integrates with utilities in every state, the value of the solar panel can automatically move with most customers no matter where they live.