Community solar refers to local solar farms shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar gives consumers access to the benefit of solar energy while avoiding the cost, space, and time associated with installing solar panels on their property. It provides businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the physical attributes or ownership of their facility. Many businesses who may not otherwise have access to solar because they rent, live in multi-tenant buildings, or have roofs that are unable to host a solar system can now participate in this model for solar that is being rapidly adopted nationwide.
As a solar farm produces electricity, power is delivered directly to the electric grid. Participating members receive solar credits each month that automatically subtract from their total costs to the utility. The “solar credits” will appear as a line item on the electric bill, subtracting from the total amount due. You are then billed by the solar developer each month for those credits at a discount. If there aren’t enough credits to cover your entire bill, the remaining balance is paid to the utility. In the event you receive excess credits, those credits will be applied to your next month’s bill.
You’ll be assigned a portion of the solar farm’s credits based on:
1.) Your historical electricity usage
2.) The solar farm’s total production
Currently, we are able to offer community solar options for small businesses, schools and religious organizations, designated as SC1 or SC2 service class, in the RG&E (Rochester Gas & Electric) or National Grid utility territories.
As community solar options continue to grow, we anticipate expanding our service offerings in the near future.
If you are interested in benefiting from the environmental and financial incentives related to community solar, a brief program overview is as follows:
Do I need to install any panels on my property? No. Panels will not be located on your property. Members of the array receive virtual solar credits from the offsite solar farms.
Will I still be receiving my electric bill? Yes. Community Solar subscribers pay their utility each month for any costs solar credits don’t cover. Members are automatically billed each month for the discounted solar credits they’ve received.
What does it cost and how much money will I be saving? There is no cost to join, and each credit is purchased at approximately 10% discount, so you will save an average of ten cents for every dollar worth of credit that offsets your electric bill.
What portion of the bill is the discount applied to? The solar credits can be applied to every portion of your bill.
Can I participate if I have a Third-Party Supplier (ESCO)? Yes. While the ESCO may lower the supply portion of the bill, discounted solar credits reduce the cost of the entire bill. If you’re happy with your ESCO, you might as well do both!
What happens if I move? You can take your subscription with you! As long as you move to an area serviced by the same utility, you can continue to support clean energy and reduce your electric bill.
How can I tell if the solar farm is working? You will have access to a software portal that will allow you to view the solar production, monetary savings, and environmental impact as a result of your participation.
Does Community Solar benefit the local community? Yes! Community Solar provides local jobs and electricity savings to businesses and residents. Community Solar reduces the amount of energy needed to be generated from fossil fuels, thus improving air quality and health throughout your area.