Community solar still remains a new concept for many individuals nationwide, but there’s no denying its rapid growth in the green energy space. In fact, there are now 40 states with at least one community solar project on-line! With a rise in solar incentives across the country, community solar has become a popular option for those looking to go solar without installing panels on their property. And with so many options out there, it’s important to understand and make an informed decision when choosing a program. In this piece, we’ll compare and shine some light on what to look out for when finding the right community solar program.
Program Types and Upfront Costs
There are two types of community solar programs – ownership and subscription. When owning a share of a solar farm, you pay a set price for your share that can be paid upfront or over time, similar to purchasing rooftop solar for your home. But instead of installing panels on your property, you will own a number of panels that eventually pay for themselves as the system generates power over time.
Subscription-based community solar programs, like Nexamp’s, allows participants to be subscribers and receive “virtual” net metering credits on their utility bill for the electricity generated by their share of a nearby farm. Subscribers do not own any panels and pay a discounted rate to the community solar provider for the credits, saving them money. Most community solar programs require no upfront cost to join, and in most cases, can offer savings right away.
Chances are, you’re hoping to save some money on your utility bill through community solar as you would if you were looking into rooftop solar. When identifying the right community solar program, it’s important to look at your monthly or annual savings. While some programs present environmental benefits, others can offer more assurance about future savings.
At Nexamp, we guarantee up to 12% savings for the bill credits you receive (note: savings vary by state). We simply analyze your monthly electricity bill and recommend a suitable allocation of our farm for you to subscribe to. This means that your utility bill will be more or less zeroed out every month by the credits, and you’ll be paying for those credits at a discounted rate.
For example, let’s say you decide to sign up with Nexamp’s community solar program, and your share of the farm generates $100 worth of credits. If your discounted rate is 10%, you would pay Nexamp $90 and you would receive $100 credits on your electrical bill, reducing your cost!
Term Length and Cancellation Policy
Community solar should make participating in solar energy easier, but many contracts do the exact opposite. For participants interested in becoming subscribers, the decision boils down to the flexibility of their agreement. Long-term contracts with no easy way out can turn off anyone’s interest in tapping into clean energy.
At Nexamp, we believe that access to clean energy shouldn’t be contingent to contract terms of a program. That’s why we’re flexible – we believe in doing right by the environment and right by our customers. You’re free to pay as you go with no upfront cost, no long-term contract and no cancellation fee if you choose to walk away at any time. Notification periods differ by state and by utility, so we do ask for a 90 days’ notice if you cancel.
Is There a Credit Check?
Credit scores can have many individuals that are interested in subscribing to a community solar program at a crossroads. Some solar companies mandate that their customers have a FICO credit score of 650 -700+, which inhibits over half of the country from participating in local community solar farms. Requiring credit checks can make the sign-up process harder and can sometimes leave a potential customer with an overall bad experience. For us, we’re making solar energy clean, simple and accessible to anyone regardless of their credit history.
In order to find the right community solar program that offers the best value and fits your lifestyle, it’s important to weigh your options across all available offers. Yes, even rooftop solar! At Nexamp, we have a focused approach that prioritizes the communities where we build our projects and maximizes savings for our subscribers. Visit our community solar page or give us a call at (800) 945-5124 to talk to one of our knowledgeable team members!