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How does community solar work?

January 3, 2020

Community solar farms are providing people with a new way to benefit from renewable energy. By subscribing to a community solar farm you earn credits for the solar power that the project generates. These “farms” make it possible for renters, condo owners, and homeowners, who, for whatever reason, can’t or don’t want to install solar panels on their roofs or property. Their participation often reduces their annual electricity costs in the process.

People are interested in alternative energy for a variety of social, environmental, and financial reasons. But not everyone interested in solar power can generate their own electricity with photovoltaic panels on their home’s roof or property. Community solar farms are providing a new option.

What is Community Solar?

In a nutshell, community solar farms are projects where community members can become subscribers who earn credits for the solar power that the project generates. These “farms” make it possible for renters, condo owners, and homeowners, who, for whatever reason, can’t or don’t want to install solar panels on their roofs or property. Their participation often reduces their annual electricity costs in the process.

How Does it Work?

  • You sign up to join a community solar farm in your area.
  • Ampion looks at your electricity use. Using this information, we assign you a share of the power generated by your local farm which results in credits on your utility bill.
  • The solar farm produces energy that is delivered to the grid
  • You receive your monthly utility bill that includes your solar energy credits. Those credits are deducted from what you owe your electric company.
  • The operator of the solar farm, in our case Ampion, bills you separately for the solar energy credits. These credits are typically billed at a discount, often 10% off. 

How You Save Money

  • We send you a bill that shows you your solar credits. Those credits are typically priced at 90% of their value (a 10% discount). The amount is set by the contract you sign and does not change over time.
  • Because we base the size of your share based on your twelve-month electricity usage, you can expect to save approximately 10% on your electricity bills when viewed on a annual basis. Variation in the output of the farm or changes in your usage may cause your actual savings to fluctuate modestly
  • Contracts are typically one or five years, but you can cancel with typically a 90-day notice at no cost to you.
  • Because community solar is supported by State programs, strong consumer protections are included in the contracts. For example, there are not teaser rates to worry about.
  • As long as you participate in the project, you’ll get monthly solar energy credits from your share of the community’s solar energy production.
  • You don’t have to switch your electric utility and if you move, you may be able to take your subscription with you.

There is no more natural way to lower your carbon footprint without having to break a sweat doing it. We hate dealing with the aftermath of Nor’easters or severe storms that are happening more often. The devastation left afterward disrupts everyone’s lives and wreaks havoc on our municipal services, utility services, and local business. Community solar farms can’t eliminate the inconveniences of weather catastrophes. However, they may lessen the impact and help cities and towns that have them recover faster.

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