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Three Things that Community Solar is NOT

September 10, 2020

Because Community Solar is a new concept in providing communities with local, money-saving renewable, clean energy, many are unclear about what it is and is not. Since it is our mission to make clean energy available to all, here are explanations for three common misconceptions.

1) Community Solar Is Not Competitive Supply.

A competitive supplier is a company licensed by the Department of Public Utilities to sell electricity supply. What is the difference between a competitive supplier and an electric utility? An electric utility, such as Eversource or National Grid, delivers electricity, while a competitive supplier is a choice for electricity supply. Community solar is neither a competitive supplier nor an electric utility.

Competitive suppliers MAY offer products with a renewable energy level that exceeds the state’s minimum requirement established in the renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Attributes that distinguish renewable energy products are the percentage of the product that is renewable and the type of the renewable resources.

Community solar consists of a solar farm, that is a power plant whose electricity is generated by capturing (clean and renewable) energy from the sun. The electricity is then distributed via the utility grid. People can subscribe to a solar farm and receive a credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced.

Ampion acts as a connector for the solar farms, enrolling new subscribers and providing customer service as well as a software platform that manages everything. 

2) Community Solar Is NOT Community Choice Aggregation.

Community choice aggregation (CCA), also known as municipal aggregation, are programs that allow local governments to arrange electricity supply for their residents, businesses, and municipal accounts from a competitive  supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility provider. CCAs are an attractive option for communities that want more local control over their electricity sources, more green power than is offered by the default utility, and/or lower electricity prices. By aggregating demand, communities may gain leverage to negotiate better rates with competitive suppliers and choose greener power sources. (https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/community-choice-aggregation)

Unlike community choice aggregation, which is a local municipal government program, almost anyone in participating states with an active utility account is eligible for community solar. There’s no special equipment to buy or install. Homeowners, renters, places of worship, and businesses can all support clean energy and save money.

3) Community Solar Is NOT On-Site Solar.

Community solar does not mean having solar panels (rooftop or ground mounted) installed on your residential or business property. Community solar requires no upfront costs and nothing to install, and it’s an easy way to benefit from solar energy. A solar farm provides people with affordable, renewable clean energy without buying or renting expensive panels to be installed on their roofs.

Here’s What Community Solar IS.

Community solar is one of the best ways to contribute to a healthier environment while saving money at the same time. As mentioned above, community solar uses a solar farm power plant whose electricity is generated by capturing energy from the sun. The electricity is then distributed via the utility grid. People can subscribe to a solar farm and receive a credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar provides savings on electricity with no up-front costs and nothing to install.

Solar energy is clean energy that does not pollute the environment and community solar is available to nearly everybody—homeowners, renters, organizations and businesses. It’s just about the easiest way to benefit from solar energy.

Whether you are an individual who wants to save money on your utility bill while contributing toward clean energy for all or a solar energy developer who wants to provide lower cost clean solar energy, we’d be happy to speak with you. Visit www.ampion.net or call 800-277-3641.

About Ampion

Ampion is a Public Benefits Corporation whose mission is to make it easy for everyone to access clean, renewable energy. Ampion is working to see real progress in the fight against climate change. We’re committed to operating in a way that produces sustainable value to all of our stakeholders: our neighbors in the communities we serve, our employees, our investors, and our business partners. Our success is defined by how well we serve the greater good, not just the profits we earn. For more information, visit www.ampion.net or call 800-277-3641.

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