The US has nearly 1,600 “community solar” providers which generate enough power for about 650,000 homes or roughly 3% of the nation's solar output -- but community solar could produce a cheaper, cleaner and more equitable system for everyone, industry groups say. Larger than home rooftop systems but smaller than utility-scale complexes, community solar attracts people who can’t afford rooftop installations or live where solar is not accessible. But while the Energy Department hopes to power up to five million households with community solar by 2025, saving consumers $1 billion, power regulation happens at the state level, where interest groups are fighting over what defines community solar and who should generate it.

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