Sunrise over a solar farm in Massachusetts

Did you know that about 30% of the United States' carbon emissions stem from the electric power sector? This significant environmental concern has been on the decline since 2005, largely thanks to the growing presence of renewable energy sources in our energy grid.

However, we're still working towards the sustainable future we need. To accelerate progress and make renewable energy accessible to all, consider Community Solar. This subscription-based solar service offers an effortless path to embracing solar power, catering to the needs of renters and the 50% of Americans residing in homes unsuitable for traditional rooftop solar panels.

What’s in This Guide?

What Is Community Solar

Community solar lowers the barriers to solar energy access while supporting national decarbonization efforts. It involves the development of large-scale arrays, often known as solar farms or solar gardens. If you’ve ever seen large fields of solar panels on the side of the highway, for example, chances are you’ve driven past a solar farm! These solar farms produce energy that is distributed to the local electricity grid. Local residents who subscribe to the solar farm see annual savings on their electricity costs while the grid is supported by an influx of clean, renewable power. It really is a win-win!

Aided by state and federal incentives supporting renewable energy, Nexamp’s community solar program offers local residents and businesses the opportunity to tap into the energy production of nearby solar farms. This not only results in significant annual savings on electricity costs but also plays a pivotal role in promoting solar energy generation in the community.

Subscribing to a local community solar project does not come at any upfront cost; however, through their participation in the program, subscribers enable community solar providers like Nexamp to continue to build, operate, and maintain solar farms. In doing so, they help to extend the benefits of solar to their community. In exchange for their support of community solar, subscribers enjoy 10-15% annual savings on their electricity costs through credits that are applied to their monthly electricity bills. With community solar, there’s no need for upfront investments or installations, making the benefits both accessible and substantial.

Check your eligibility for Nexamp Community Solar here:

people and solar panels

What’s The Difference Between Local Solar and Community Solar

Although both community solar programs and local solar installations share the same goal of generating clean energy from the sun, they approach this task differently.

Local solar installations, often referred to as rooftop solar, are deployed on individual properties, including homes or businesses. These installations are designed to meet the energy needs of the property owner, supplying them directly with clean energy. On occasion, surplus energy generated by these installations is fed back into the grid, further contributing to sustainable energy production.

In contrast, community solar is a shared resource that multiple individuals, households, and businesses can tap into. This communal approach maximizes the use of resources while extending the benefits of clean energy more broadly. By enabling a shared contribution to sustainable energy solutions, community solar encourages a collective commitment to a greener future.

difference between local solar and community solar

Who Is Eligible for Community Solar

  • Renters and homeowners
  • Low-to-moderate income households
  • Businesses
  • Universities
  • Hospitals
  • Religious organizations
  • Municipalities
Circles with different types of community solar customers

How Does Community Solar Work

Instead of installing solar panels on their property, community solar offers renters, homeowners, and businesses an innovative approach to accessing solar energy. Here’s how it works:

  1. Customers subscribe to a Nexamp community solar farm
  2. They begin to earn utility bill credits once the farm is built & connected to the grid
  3. Subscribers then pay Nexamp for these utility bill credits at a discount
  4. This allows them to save annually on electricity costs
Community solar how it works

Community solar subscribers receive credits on their utility bills through virtual net metering. The number of credits on their utility bill is based on the energy their share of the community solar farm generates. Community solar companies ensure subscribers are assigned a portion of the solar farm that matches their annual electricity usage.

At Nexamp, we take pride in our comprehensive approach to community solar. We assume responsibility for the complete lifecycle of our community solar projects, from construction to operation. This means that our subscribers can enjoy substantial annual savings, between 10-15%, without the burden of upfront enrollment costs or fees. We are committed to providing accessibility and flexibility, and our subscription process does not involve any credit checks. Subscribing to a community solar project with Nexamp is hassle-free, allowing you to embrace clean energy with ease and confidence.

How Much Can I Save with Community Solar

An individual's community solar savings are based on several factors, such as the state they live in and their income. The chart below provides a breakdown of Nexamp’s community solar discounts by state.

Annual Savings 12.5-15% 10% 12.5% 10% 15% 10% 15%

How Does Community Solar Billing Work

It can sound too good to be true—saving while supporting solar, all without any upfront costs or installation. We're going to break down the solar farm billing model, shared solar savings, and how it all works to benefit the subscriber. Our goal is to provide billing transparency in community solar.

  • Two Bills: In the current community solar billing structure, subscribers will still receive one bill from their local electricity provider and one from Nexamp. When they subscribe to a community solar farm, individuals will continue to receive power from their local utility but will also receive community solar credits on their bill for their share of the energy produced by the solar garden. These credits reduce the total amount community solar subscribers we their utility and are always discounted. After they start to see the credits on their utility bill, subscribers receive a Nexamp bill for the amount credited on the utility bill, always at a guaranteed discount. 
  • Saving: Nexamp and other community solar providers receive state and federal incentives for community solar, which enable them to offer subscribers credits at a discount. These discounted credits are how subscribers save! For example, let’s say that a subscriber’s utility bill is $110, and they receive a $100 credit. This would mean that they pay $10 to their utility. When they are invoiced for their credits, Nexamp will apply a discount of between 10-15%, depending on the terms of the community solar agreement. This means that the subscriber will pay between $85 (15% discount) and $90 (10% discount) for their utility bill credits. Although they are receiving a second bill, the total amount they pay goes down from $110 to between $95 and $100. Over the course of a whole year, those savings can really add up.

What Is Seasonal Variability with Community Solar

Solar production is influenced by the seasons. In the summer months, when days are longer and warmer, solar production tends to increase. Conversely, in the winter, when days are shorter and there is more cloud cover, solar production is typically lower. Nexamp’s community solar program was created with the seasons in mind and is designed to help you save over the course of the year despite these fluctuations. This means that subscribers will typically see more credits, sometimes more than they need, in the summer and early fall. In the winter, they usually see fewer credits. However, unused credits from the summer months will roll over until they are needed. This is how subscribers save annually with community solar, despite seasonal variability.

Is There a Downside to Community Solar with Nexamp

Community solar offers a range of benefits, and while we want to emphasize those, it is essential to recognize the nuances of community solar as well.

The downside to Nexamp is that subscribers will not own solar panels and will not be eligible for solar tax credits through their participation in Nexamp Community Solar. This is a general downside to community solar as a whole.

On the bright side, this means they are not responsible for the operations and management of any solar panels, do not need to incur installation costs, and don’t need to worry about how many solar panels are right for them—we take care of everything!

Furthermore, with Nexamp, subscribers do not pay any upfront costs, and they always have the option to cancel a subscription at no cost.

Illinois solar farm with native pollinator vegetation growing

What Are The Benefits of Community Solar

Community solar offers an easy pathway toward a greener future. The difference between community solar and local solar is its accessibility, eliminating the need for upfront capital investment typically associated with personal rooftop solar installations. This opens the door for individuals passionate about clean energy to participate without financial barriers. As an industry leader, Nexamp empowers individuals to subscribe to a community solar farm effortlessly. When individuals sign up for Nexamp Community Solar, they’re championing environmental well-being and securing long-term energy savings at no upfront cost.

With shared solar, community benefits are realized alongside individual benefits, bringing together businesses, renters, homeowners, non-profits, and more to share in the sun's power. Community solar builds grid reliability, helps local businesses, organizations, and residents save money, and reduces our Nation’s reliance on fossil fuels. Community solar is inclusive and accessible, making it a critical part of the clean energy revolution.

Support your community and our planet by signing up for Nexamp Community Solar today!