If you’ve already signed up for community solar (congratulations, by the way!), you may be wondering: what happens now? In addition to saving on your monthly electricity bill, there are a few important things to expect when you start tapping into your local community solar project. In this article, we cover the most important things for you to know when it comes to getting started with your subscription, billing, and more.
- You may not be able to get started with community solar right away. Depending on where you live, there could be a waiting period due to high demand.
- Your savings from community solar will vary from month to month, depending on the season.
- If you are changing your address, there are options to transfer your community solar contract instead of canceling it outright.
- Community solar is a great way to see savings on your electricity bill. Visit our Community Solar Marketplace to compare subscriptions from solar farms near you!
What’s in this article?
- Getting started with community solar
- Billing with community solar
- Changing or ending your community solar subscription
- Frequently asked questions about community solar
Getting started with community solar
After comparing your options, selecting a community solar project, reserving your spot, and signing a contract with a provider, you’ll be subscribed to community solar. However, it may be a little while before you start to see the credits from your project appear on your electricity bill; a few things need to happen first:
Determining the size of your project share
The community solar provider you subscribed to will review your electricity bills, determine the average amount of energy your household consumes, and match your energy consumption to a portion of the community solar project you signed up for. The project share that you are assigned should cover approximately 90 percent of your electricity needs.
Your energy usage fluctuating slightly will not impact your overall savings from subscribing to community solar. If for some reason your energy consumption increases significantly, you can reach out to your community solar provider and ask if they can adjust the size of your project share to meet your changing energy needs. Depending on the regulations and policies where you live, there may be limits on how much and how often you can adjust your project share.
No matter what project you sign up for, it will take a billing cycle or two for the savings from your new community solar subscription to be reflected in your electricity bill.
If the community solar project that you signed up for is not yet complete, you will have to wait until it’s finished to begin seeing the savings from community solar reflected on your electricity bill. Any project that you sign up for through the EnergySage Community Solar Marketplace will include an expected launch date for the project. You’ll begin to see savings from the project reflected in your bill around one or two months after the community solar project you subscribed to launches.
If there are currently no subscription spots open to community solar projects near you, you’ll be placed on a waiting list and notified when there are open spots or new projects available. You also might live in an area where there is no community solar available, in which case you can sign up for emails to be notified when there are projects being built in your area. Luckily, community solar is constantly growing: there are currently 41 states and counting in the United States with at least one community solar project. On EnergySage, you can currently sign up for projects in 12 different states. So, even if there isn’t currently a community solar project in your area at the moment, stay tuned because there just might be one soon!
Billing with community solar
Once you are signed up for community solar and assigned a project share, you’ll begin to receive bills from both your electricity provider and your community solar project. The community solar bill includes the charges for the electricity generated from your share of the project. You are essentially purchasing credits from the community solar project that you can put towards reducing your electricity bills.
Your community solar provider will then coordinate with the utility company that you get your electricity from and apply the credits from your project share to your electricity bill, bringing down your electricity costs. Most people see savings of 5 to 15% when they switch to community solar. You can learn more about the community solar billing process in this article.
Seasonality of solar production and community solar billing
Solar energy production is inevitably seasonal, meaning that your community solar project will produce more energy during the summer months. Your electricity usage and community solar credits will not always match up – but the great thing about your subscription is that once you purchase your community solar credits, they’re yours!
Your community solar bill will be higher in the winter months because energy production will be lower, but during the summer, your share may generate more credits than you even need ! Any credits that you don’t use during a month will be rolled over to the next month. In the same way your energy usage fluctuates throughout the year, your savings from community solar will also fluctuate. For more information on the seasonality of community solar, check out this article.
Changing or ending your community solar subscription
If you’re planning on moving soon, you may be wondering what to do about your community solar subscription. Depending on where you are moving to, there are a few different options.
Transferring your community solar subscription to a new address
If the place you’re moving to is in the same electricity service territory as your current home, you can usually transfer your community solar subscription to your new address. You should reach out to your community solar provider to inquire about any transfer terms and/or fees well ahead of your moving date to avoid any confusion and potential headaches.
Transferring your community solar subscription to another customer
If your new home is outside of the service territory of your current electricity provider and you cannot take your community solar contract with you to your new address, you might be able to transfer the contract to another customer. The new inhabitants of your home might be interested in taking over your subscription to save on their electricity bills, or another person you know in the area may want to take your contract. This type of transfer is completely dependent on your community solar provider, and you should reach out to them as soon as possible to ask about the transfer process.
Ending your community solar subscription
You can cancel your community solar subscription at any time, without fees, as long as you give the minimum notice outlined in your contract. This is typically anywhere from 30-90 days from when you want your subscription to end. If you think you need to cancel your subscription anytime soon, make sure to check the notice requirements laid out in your contract.
Frequently asked questions about community solar
A community solar project is a large, central power plant, whose electricity is shared by multiple properties. These projects generate and distribute renewable electricity for the grid and subscribers purchase a share of this energy – usually at a discount – to offset their power bill. As a subscriber, you receive credits towards your monthly electric bill for any energy you buy from the project, reducing what you owe your utility company.
In most cases, participating in community solar will come at no cost – it’s free to sign up and most community solar providers offer a fixed discount on any energy you buy from the project.
Yes – after subscribing, your utility company will continue delivering your electricity with no interruption in service.
As a community solar subscriber, you’ll likely receive two separate bills each month: one from your utility company and another from your community solar provider. Your community solar bill will include charges for the energy generated from your share of the project. Then, your provider will then coordinate with your utility company to apply project credits to your electric bill, reducing your overall cost.
Have more questions about community solar? Check out some of the most asked questions!
Ready to sign up for community solar? Get started today!
EnergySage is the nation’s leading online solar marketplace; using our Community Solar Marketplace, you can compare local options, get a quick community solar savings estimate, and seamlessly subscribe to an open project in your area. Over 10 million people come to EnergySage each year to learn about, shop for and invest in solar. Compare your community solar options today to see how much solar can save you.