reasons for community solar

4 reasons to join a community solar program

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Community solar is quickly becoming a hit in the renewable energy industry. Many people hear the pitch and think, “Really? This is too good to be true”…and honestly, we get it. But truthfully, there are a lot of good reasons to join a community solar program – here are four of them to start:

Reason #1: you will save on your electricity bill 

Community solar allows you to purchase bill credits generated at a local solar farm. Typically, you purchase these bill credits at a discount (most companies offer a 10% discount from what you currently pay for electricity). You’ll still receive an electricity bill from your utility company, but it will include any credits that you bought from your community solar share, therefore lowering your overall bill amount.

With community solar, your electricity bill savings vary from month to month – this is because your electricity usage typically varies by season, as does solar production. When the sun is shining during the summer, the solar farm will produce more electricity (therefore, 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 the winter months. Despite this monthly variance, you can expect to save 5 to 10 percent off of your annual electricity costs after joining a community solar program.

Reason #2: you don’t need to own property to benefit from community solar (just an electric bill!)

One of the greatest features of community solar is its accessibility: you don’t need to own property or install any equipment to take advantage. This makes it an excellent option for many people who otherwise have trouble benefiting from solar energy, such as renters, people who live in multifamily houses, and others living in homes not suitable for rooftop solar panels.

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.

Reason #3: your subscription helps support local clean energy jobs and development

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “the next five years will see the U.S. community solar market add more than 4 gigawatts of total capacity.” To put that into perspective, that amount of solar can generate enough electricity to power ~760,000 homes!

When you invest in community solar, you’re helping support current and future renewable energy development, as well as encouraging local job growth in clean energy. In fact, the solar farm that you receive your bill credits from will likely be close by (you might be able to go check it out!), and the developer or community solar company may employ your neighbors or friends to help build or maintain the solar farm. 

Reason #4: it’s easy to join a community solar program (…really easy)

We’ve already mentioned that joining a community solar program requires no change in service, but that’s not even 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’re receiving solar bill credits on your monthly utility bill. For another, many programs require no long-term commitment. If you end up moving or simply decide you don’t want to participate any longer, most options allow you to cancel without a penalty.

(Note: while many companies don’t charge a cancellation fee, they may have a minimum for cancellation notices – it can vary by program, so make sure to confirm this policy with your community solar company!)

And EnergySage makes it easy to find the right community solar option

Want to compare community solar options in your area? Check out our Community Solar Marketplace, where you can see a list of open community projects near you and get a quick estimate of potential community solar savings. If there aren’t community solar projects available in your region just yet, you can sign up to receive updates as new projects go live closeby. Alternatively, if you already have a community solar contract in-hand and want to compare it to installing solar on your own property, register to receive up to seven solar quotes on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace.

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About Kerry Thoubboron

Kerry has worked in solar for more than 6 years, starting her career as an Energy Advisor dedicated to helping customers compare their options and make well-informed solar decisions. She graduated from Boston University with a degree in Environmental Analysis and Policy. Outside of work, you can find Kerry snowboarding, watching The Office, or having passionate debates about which New England state is best (spoiler: it's Vermont).

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