As solar becomes increasingly affordable and accessible, there's never been a better time to go solar, and community solar is an excellent option for those who might find it difficult or impossible to install solar where they live. There are a few significant benefits to note if you're on the fence about signing up – we'll look at each in this article.
Community solar is an easy and accessible way to save on electricity if you can't install solar. Most people see savings of 5-15 percent.
By signing up for community solar, you're saving money and supporting the growth of local green energy jobs in your community.
Compare local community solar projects through EnergySage Community Solar Marketplace today.
A community solar project is a large, central power plant whose electricity is shared by multiple properties. You may have also heard it referred to as a community solar farm. These projects generate and distribute renewable electricity for the grid, and subscribers purchase a share of this energy–usually at a discount–to offset their power bill. As a subscriber to a community solar project, you'll receive credits towards your monthly electric bill for any energy you buy from the project, reducing what you owe your utility company. Check out this article for more details on the specifics of community solar and how it works.
One of the best things about community solar is that nearly anyone can benefit, and it is an accessible way to access clean energy for renters, small businesses, and others who may not be able to install solar on their property or where they live. Let's dive into some of the benefits of community solar.
Community solar is democratizing access to renewable energy because, with community solar, you don't need to own property or install equipment to take advantage of solar energy production. If you want to support clean energy with your electricity choice but know that installing solar panels is a non-starter, community solar is perfect. To quickly summarize how it works: you purchase or lease a share of a local community solar project, and then that project sells the energy it generates to the utility company. You receive credits for how much your share generates, which your utility company applies to your electric bill, lowering your costs and benefiting clean energy!
Community solar is an excellent option for renters, people who live in multifamily houses, and those living in homes unsuitable for rooftop solar panels. Small businesses can also sign up for community solar and save on electric bills. Best of all, you won't even experience any change in electrical service after signing up for community solar. Your utility company will continue to deliver electricity to your home, and your community solar provider will take care of the logistics necessary to get the solar credits applied to your monthly bill.
Most people who sign up for community solar see 5 to 15 percent annual savings on their electric bills. After signing up, you'll receive two statements: one from your community solar company telling you how many credits (or how much energy) your share of the community solar project generated over the past month. You'll still receive an electricity bill from your utility company, but it will reflect any credits you bought from your community solar share, lowering your overall bill amount.
With community solar, your electricity bill savings vary from month to month because solar production typically varies by season, as does electricity usage. When the sun shines during the summer, the solar farm will produce more electricity, providing you with more solar bill credits. This often means higher payments to your community solar company and lower utility bill charges, while the opposite may happen during winter. Read this article to learn more about what you can expect from your bills after you sign up for community solar.
We've already mentioned that joining a community solar program requires no change in service, but that's not scratching the surface of how easy community solar is.
For one, most community solar options charge nothing upfront – you'll only start to pay once you receive solar bill credits on your monthly utility bill. For another, many programs require no long-term commitment. If you end up moving or decide you don't want to participate any longer, most options allow you to cancel without a penalty.
(While many companies don't charge a cancellation fee, they may have a minimum for cancellation notices – it can vary by program, so confirm this policy with your community solar company!)
In the next five years, there is likely going to be an estimated 4.3 gigawatts of community solar installed across the United States. To put that into perspective, that amount of solar can generate enough electricity to power ~760,000 homes!
By investing in community solar, you're supporting the development of renewable energy and encouraging job growth in that sector of the economy. The community solar farm you subscribe to will probably be close by and will be employing people from your community to develop and maintain it!
EnergySage is the nation's leading online solar marketplace – using our Community Solar Marketplace, you can compare local options, get a quick community solar savings estimate, and seamlessly subscribe to an open project in your area. Over 10 million people visit EnergySage annually to learn about, shop for and invest in solar. Compare your community solar options today to see how much you can save.