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5 Important Things to Know About Community Solar Programs

We all get uneasy when our electric bills come in each month. Maybe because we know we’ve used more energy than we should have, or maybe it’s because the cost of living is going up and our salaries aren’t keeping pace.

In fact, the average monthly electric bill in the U.S. is around $114.44. It’s a huge chunk of change, and it’s only going to get bigger as the years go on, especially with gas prices on the rise.

So what can we do to lower our monthly electric bills? Well, think about community solar energy. It’s a new way to power your home with solar panels, and it’s much cheaper than traditional methods.

Thanks to community solar providers, people can get clean and affordable energy without requiring to install solar panels on their own roofs. However, before you decide whether or not community solar is right for you, here are five things you should know.

Who Markets the Community Solar Program?

Community solar programs are typically marketed by community-based organizations, such as electric co-ops, municipal utilities, and rural electric associations. A solar developer may also be responsible for marketing the community solar program in some cases.

These community solar companies work with landowners, businesses, and other community members to get buy-in for the project. They also help to secure financing and identify potential community solar customers.

The goal is to get as many people as possible to invest in the project and sign up for solar panels. This way, the community can benefit from lower electric bills and support renewable energy development.

Contract and Term Length of Community Solar Projects

When a utility offers a community solar program, the term and contract length can be short, probably one year. However, consumers can subscribe for 10, 20, or 25 years. It’s important to know that you can make a long-term commitment because of the benefits of solar increase over time.

On the other hand, there’s typically a 20 or 25-year contract when offered by solar developers. The length of the contract is important because it locks in the rate you pay for solar power, which is usually lower than utility rates.

It also protects you from increases in utility rates, which are often unpredictable. A longer contract gives you more protection from these rate fluctuations.

The important thing to remember is that you should carefully consider the term’s length and the contract before subscribing to a community solar program.

REC Treatment

Community solar is one of the leading forms of renewable energy. As more and more people are interested in doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint, community solar is becoming an increasingly popular option.

With community solar, individuals can subscribe to a local solar farm and receive credits on their electricity bill for the power that their share of the farm produces. These credits can offset the cost of their electricity or even provide a financial return.

What’s the Economic Value Proposition?

Community solar subscribers receive a credit on their electricity bill for the portion of power their share produces. That’s the economic value proposition in a nutshell, but there are other important benefits.

Perhaps most importantly, community solar offers a hedge against future utility rate increases. Even if your utility doesn’t offer time-of-use rates, you’re still susceptible to annual rate hikes.

With community solar, you can lock in a fixed price for 20 years. And because the developer sets the price when the project is built, it’s usually much lower than what utilities charge per kilowatt-hour. As an added bonus, any excess credits generated by your share are banked and carried over to future months when production is low (like during the winter).

But community solar isn’t just a good deal for your wallet—it’s also good for the environment. By subscribing to a share in a community solar farm, you’re offsetting some of the emissions from traditional power generation. And because community solar farms are often built on brownfield sites or abandoned landfills, they help revitalize these areas while generating clean, renewable energy.

In short, community solar is a win-win-win proposition—a good deal for subscribers, good for the environment, and good for the economy.

Size Limits

Commercial and residential community solar energy buyers are limited to a system size that will produce no more than 100% of their annual energy usage. This ensures that the community solar farm produces enough electricity to offset all of the customer’s electric bills for an entire year.

Most programs limit the size of each system to between 0.25 and 20 kilowatts (kW). A typical U.S. home uses about 11,000 kWh of electricity per year. The average U.S. home could offset its entire electric bill with a community solar farm system between about 27 and 22,000 watts (W).

The maximum system size for a residential customer is often based on the amount of energy the customer uses in a year. It is usually based on the amount of electricity used during peak demand hours for commercial customers. The community solar farms are intended to offset all or most of a customer’s electric usage.

As the cost of solar panels has decreased, the size of community solar farms has increased. In some cases, commercial customers can offset their entire electric usage with a single community solar farm system.

Conclusion

Community solar is becoming an increasingly popular option for reducing its carbon footprint. With community solar, individuals can subscribe to a local solar farm and receive credits on their electricity bill for the power that their share of the farm produces.

Do you also want to find a way to reduce your carbon footprint? Check out a community solar project in your area.

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