What happens after you sign up for community solar?

After signing up for community solar.

If you've already signed up for community solar (congratulations, by the way!), you may be wondering: what happens now? In addition to saving on your monthly electricity bill, there are a few important things to expect when you tap into your local community solar project. In this article, we cover the most important things for you to know when it comes to getting started with your subscription, billing, and more.

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Key takeaways

  • You may not be able to get started with community solar right away. There could be a waiting period due to high demand depending on where you live.

  • Your savings from community solar will vary monthly, depending on the season.

  • If you are changing your address, transferring your community solar contract is possible instead of canceling it outright.

  • Community solar is a great way to see savings on your electricity bill. Visit our Community Solar Marketplace to compare subscriptions from solar farms near you!

After comparing your options, selecting a community solar project, reserving your spot, and signing a contract with a provider, you'll be subscribed to community solar. However, it may be a little while before you start to see the credits from your project appear on your electricity bill; a few things need to happen first:

Determining the size of your project share

The community solar provider you subscribed to will review your electricity bills, determine the average amount of energy your household consumes, and match your energy consumption to a portion of the community solar project you signed up for. Your projected share should cover approximately 90 percent of your electricity needs.

Your fluctuating energy usage will not impact your overall savings from subscribing to community solar. If your energy consumption increases significantly, you can reach out to your community solar provider and ask if they can adjust the size of your project share to meet your changing energy needs. Depending on the regulations and policies where you live, there may be limits on how much and how often you can adjust your project share.

Waiting period

No matter what project you sign up for, the savings from your new community solar subscription will take a billing cycle or two to show up on your electric bill. 

Any project you sign up for through the EnergySage Community Solar Marketplace will include an expected launch date. You'll see savings from the project reflected in your bill around one or two months after the community solar project you subscribed to launches.

If there are no subscription spots to community solar projects near you, you'll be placed on a waiting list and notified when open spots or new projects become available. You also might live in an area with no community solar available, so you can sign up for emails notifying you when projects are being built in your area. Luckily, community solar is constantly growing: 41 states and counting in the United States have at least one community solar project. On EnergySage, you can sign up for projects in 12 states. So, even if there isn't a community solar project in your area, stay tuned because there might be one soon!

Once you are signed up for community solar and assigned a project share, you'll begin to receive bills from both your electricity provider and your community solar project. The community solar bill includes the charges for the electricity generated from your share of the project. You are essentially purchasing credits from the community solar project to reduce your electricity bills.

Your community solar provider will then coordinate with the utility company you get your electricity from and apply the credits from your project share to your electricity bill, bringing down your electricity costs. Most people see savings of 5 to 15% when they switch to community solar. You can learn more about the community solar billing process in this article.

Seasonality of solar production and community solar billing

Solar energy production is inevitably seasonal, meaning that your community solar project will produce more energy during summer. Your electricity usage and community solar credits will not always match up – but the great thing about your subscription is that once you purchase your community solar credits, they're yours! 

Your community solar bill will be higher in the winter months because energy production will be lower, but during the summer, your share may generate more credits than you need! Any credits you don't use during a month will be rolled over to the next month. In the same way, your energy usage fluctuates throughout the year, and your savings from community solar will also fluctuate. For more information on the seasonality of community solar, check out this article.

If you plan on moving soon, you may wonder what to do about your community solar subscription. There are a few different options depending on where you are moving to.

Transferring your community solar subscription to a new address

If the place you're moving to is in the same electricity service territory as your current home, you can usually transfer your community solar subscription to your new address. You should contact your community solar provider to inquire about transfer terms or fees well ahead of your moving date to avoid confusion and potential headaches.

Transferring your community solar subscription to another customer

If your new home is outside the service territory and you can't take your community solar contract with you, you might be able to transfer the contract to another customer. The new inhabitants of your home might be interested in taking over your subscription to save on their electricity bills, or another person you know in the area may want to take your contract. This type of transfer depends on your community solar provider, and you should contact them as soon as possible to ask about the transfer process.

Ending your community solar subscription

You can cancel your community solar subscription anytime, without fees, if you give the minimum notice outlined in your contract. This is typically anywhere from 30-90 days from when you want your subscription to end. If you think you need to cancel your subscription anytime soon, make sure to check the notice requirements laid out in your contract.

How does community solar work?

A community solar project is a large, central power plant whose electricity is shared by multiple properties. 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, you receive credits towards your monthly electric bill for any energy you buy from the project, reducing what you owe your utility company.

How much does community solar cost?

In most cases, participating in community solar will come at no cost – it's free to sign up, and most community solar providers offer a fixed discount on any energy you buy from the project.

Will I still receive power from my utility company?

Yes – after subscribing, your utility company will continue delivering your electricity without interruption in service.

How does community solar billing work?

As a community solar subscriber, you'll likely receive two monthly bills: one from your utility company and another from your community solar provider. Your community solar bill will include charges for the energy generated from your project share. Your provider will then coordinate with your utility company to apply project credits to your electric bill, reducing your overall cost.

Have more questions about community solar? Check out some of the most asked questions!

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 solar can save you.

Get the benefits of solar without installing panels
Please enter a five-digit zip code.
  • 100% free to use, 100% online
  • Enjoy 5 - 20% off your annual electricity bill
  • Unbiased Energy Advisors ready to help
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