If you’re here, chances are you’re wondering whether or not you should take the plunge and switch over to solar. For lowering your electricity costs and reducing our carbon footprint, solar is popular for homeowners, building owners, and even renters.

With so many choices out there, it can be challenging to decide which option is best for you. For most, installing rooftop panels is the best way to tap into solar energy.

But in recent years community solar has become a more viable alternative, allowing people to tap into the same benefits without installing rooftop panels. In this piece, we compare both ways of going solar to hopefully help you find the best option.

Rooftop Solar

Own a home or a commercial building? Thinking about installing solar panels on your roof? Here are some things to take into consideration:

Orientation – Which way is your roof facing? A common deal breaker when it comes to installing rooftop solar is the orientation of the roof. Solar panels facing south typically receive the most sunlight which means higher energy production and greater value.

Shading – How much is too much shading? Trees, buildings (if you live in the city) and sometimes even hills can all decrease a solar panel’s electricity production so, ideally, you’ll want to steer clear of any shading. Tip: if you’re in a wooded area, trimming branches from trees is often enough to improve your solar system’s production.

Age of Roof – Do you have the appropriate roof for solar? Rooftop solar requires a sturdy roof, one that has been replaced within the last 3-5 years. Consider updating or replacing your roof before installing panels as your roof should be in excellent condition.

Lease vs Own – How will you finance your solar system? There are two main options when installing solar panels on your property. You can either purchase the system outright or you can lease it. Buying a system yourself usually costs between $11,000 -$14,000 (depending on size of solar array). Through leasing, you’ll most likely get a system installed with little to no money down. You sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) but you won’t own the system. Get an instant estimate of your solar saving potential by using a solar calculator, based on your roof and offers in your area.

Community Solar

So, your roof isn’t facing the right direction or you’re currently renting. Or maybe you just don’t think rooftop solar panels are aesthetically pleasing. Tapping into a local community solar farm might be more your style.

Homeowners, small businesses, renters or anyone running into difficulty with putting solar on their roof should consider community solar because there’s no need to install solar panels on your roof.

Here’s how it works:

1. You and your neighbors subscribe to a share of one of our nearby solar farms.

2. The solar farm feeds clean power into your community’s electric grid while earning you energy credits.

3. Those credits show up on your electric bill, saving you up to 15% on your annual electricity cost. There are no upfront costs, no long term contracts, and no credit checks.

Community solar programs can vary greatly depending on the provider so be sure to do some research. At Nexamp, we offer participants up to 15% off their electricity costs without having to install rooftop panels or get locked into a long-term contract.

Both rooftop and community solar are sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective ways for people to improve their carbon footprint while saving on electricity costs. Whatever you decide, we’d like to say “thank you!” You’re becoming part of the clean energy movement!