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Community solar in New Paltz, New York

community solar farm connected to the electric grid and homes
Community Solar Location

With community solar, you can subscribe to a share of a solar farm near you. If you have an electric bill, you can support renewables without installing anything on your property – and save money!

The Empire State is home to one of the best community solar markets in the country. NY first launched community solar in 2015 as part of the Shared Renewables Program , an initiative to help make clean, affordable energy accessible for all types of New Yorkers. As of 2020, thanks in part to Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative and Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) plan, New York is one of the top five states with the most community solar installations in the country.

What is community solar?

A community solar project is a solar farm whose electricity is shared by more than one property. The primary purpose of a community solar farm is to allow members of a community to share the benefits of solar power even if they cannot or prefer not to install solar panels on their property. Project participants benefit from the electricity generated by the community solar farm, which costs less than the price they would ordinarily pay to their utility.

community solar marketplace diagram

How much can I save by joining a New Paltz, New York community solar farm?

row of buildings

Savings differ from program to program, and also vary by month. On average, most community solar subscribers in New Paltz receive a 5-10% discount off of traditional electricity costs over the course of a year.

How to sign up for community solar

Signing up for community solar is extremely simple – especially when you do so through the Central Hudson Gas and Electric Community Solar Marketplace! Here’s a list of the steps you’ll need to take through our Marketplace in order to sign up:

  1. Enter your zip code to see a list of open community solar projects near you.
  2. Click on “Project Details” to learn more about individual projects, such as cancellation policies, billing info, environmental impact, location, and more.
  3. When you’re ready to select a project, click “Get Started.” This will take you to a page where you can fill out the necessary subscription information, including your name, address, and utility account number.
  4. Next, you’ll finalize your subscription with your developer, and they will follow up directly to confirm your contract and subscription amount.
  5. Finally, about a month or two after the project has launched (the launch date will be visible on the Project Details page), you’ll receive a separate bill for your community energy credits!

Community solar projects in New Paltz, New York

What are the benefits of community solar?

Community solar could be a great option for you. It has many different benefits including traditional benefits of going solar like environmental friendliness and cost savings.

buildings subscribed to community solar

Invest in local energy

Community solar programs help support local renewable energy jobs and project development in New York, connecting you directly to clean energy projects in your community.

Save money on your electric bill

You can save 5-10% off of your annual electricity costs with community solar.

Access community solar without needing to own property

Unlike rooftop solar, you don’t need to own your property to take advantage of community solar (you just need an electric bill!)

Sign up for community solar easily

Many community solar farms have no subscription fee and are easy to opt-out of. Plus, you don’t need to install or maintain any equipment on your property.

What is virtual net metering?

Virtual net metering (VNM) is a bill crediting system for community solar. It refers to when solar is not used on-site but is instead externally installed and shared among subscribers. In this case, you receive credits on your electric bill for excess energy produced by your share of a solar garden.

Virtual net metering in New York

Virtual net metering is known as community net-metering in the state of New York. Here, subscribers to community solar (called community distributed generation) have been able to receive credits on electricity generated off-site by solar panels since 2015.

Community Solar FAQs

Electricity bill savings differ from program to program, and also vary by month. On average, most community solar farm subscribers receive a discount between 5-10% off of traditional electricity costs over the course of a year.

After subscribing to a community solar program, you will start receiving two separate bills: you’ll continue receiving a monthly bill from your utility company, but this bill will include any applicable credits from the community solar farm. You will also receive a separate bill from your community solar provider for the cost of your share or subscription.

Sign up or membership fees vary depending on the project, provider, and payment model – many community solar providers offer $0-down subscription options, while others may charge a small, initial sign-up fee to get you up and running.

It depends – if you’re moving to a location that’s still in the same electricity service territory as your current home, you may be able to transfer your community solar subscription to your new address. However, if you’re moving further away, you may need to cancel your subscription or transfer your contract to another utility customer (whether that be the new homeowners or someone else in the project’s service territory). Cancellation and transfer terms and applicable fees vary by project and provider, so confirm these policies with your provider prior to signing up.

Before signing a contract with a community solar provider, it’s important to compare estimated savings, cancellation terms, project location, payment model, subscription fees, and more. Using the Community Solar Marketplace, you can compare multiple local options and find the best project for you.

Renters: If you’re a renter, subscribing to a community solar project is your best option for going solar. As a renter, with community solar, you can save money on electric bills, have flexible contract options, and support the local development of clean energy.
Homeowners: Community solar is also a great option for homeowners. If you own your home but your roof isn’t suitable for solar panels, or you aren’t ready for the upfront cost of rooftop solar, community solar can help you save money on your electric bill.
Business owners: If you own a business and are looking for a way to save on utility costs, community solar could be ideal for you. With community solar, you can expect to pay 5-15% less for electricity than the market rate in your area.

Who offers community solar in New Paltz, New York?

There are 6 community solar developers offering 8 active projects in New Paltz, New York.

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Community solar vs. rooftop solar in New Paltz, New York

Which option is right for you?
Here are some of the main differences to keep in mind as you’re deciding between community and rooftop solar:

Community solar Rooftop solar
Cost No upfront cost Does have an upfront cost; $0-down financing available
Savings Lower savings Maximum long-term savings
Accessibility Available to renters & property owners Only available to property owners
Maintenance No maintenance required Maintenance may be required and is the responsibility of the system owner
Incentives Not eligible for most solar incentives Eligible for state and federal solar incentives (e.g. the federal tax credit)
Property value benefits Has no impact on property value Increases property value

Common myths about community solar debunked

There are plenty of misconceptions out there about community solar, but luckily we’re here to help clarify. Here are some of the truths about community solar:

You don’t need to own a home to go solar

Since you don’t need to have a suitable rooftop for solar to participate in a community solar project, it’s a great option for renters and people who live in shared housing. By purchasing a share of or subscribing to a community solar project, everybody can benefit from solar while paying less for electricity.

Community solar isn’t expensive

Back in the day, community solar often cost more than what you’d otherwise pay your utility – so it’s understandable if you still think that’s the case. However, it’s the opposite! By signing up for community solar, you’ll actually save money on an annual basis.

Community solar and green power aren’t the same thing

Ever received a letter in the mail urging you to sign up for a clean electricity plan? Or had someone knock on your door asking you to sign up for a green power plan? Community solar is not the same thing! Here’s a breakdown of how community solar compares to other electricity options:

Community solar Community choice aggregation Green power Standard utility offering
Generates savings Typically yes Sometimes Typically no No
Supports local renewable energy development Yes Sometimes Typically no No
Has consolidating billing Typically no Typically yes Sometimes Yes
Do you get renewable energy certificates (RECs) Typically no Typically yes Yes No

To learn more about these electricity plans, check out this article.

Many solar farms are environmentally friendly

Community solar can take up a lot of space, so it’s easy to be confused about how it’s environmentally friendly – don’t these projects clear trees? While some solar farms will require the cutting of trees, many don’t! In fact, a lot of community solar projects are built on otherwise unusable land like landfills or brownfield sites. Some states even provide financial incentives to developers who choose to build projects on these sites. And overall, even if some trees need to be cleared for a community solar project to be developed, the net environmental benefit is still worth it in most cases.

You don’t need to sign a long-term contract

Many people think that signing up for community solar means a long-term commitment – and we understand why! In the past, community solar subscriptions were often structured similarly to power purchase agreements in which you’re locked in for 20 or even 25 years. However, today, community solar subscriptions are much more flexible. Most companies don’t require a long-term agreement and you can cancel your subscription for free.