June 2, 2023
Affordable Electricity with Community Solar
There are many reasons to consider signing up for community solar. And yes, the environmental aspects are vital. But they’re far from the only reason to investigate this form of affordable electricity. It’s a great way to save on energy costs.
“Solar?” you might say. “Isn’t that the thing where I have to spend money upfront to install panels on my roof?” If you’re looking at solar panels, yes—you need to spend money to have the panels installed before you can even begin saving on energy. With community solar, however, there’s no cost to enroll or panels to install—in other words, you don’t have to watch your bank account dip before realizing savings.
Who’s eligible for community solar?
Anyone who pays an electric bill can subscribe to a local solar farm. It’s a great program for people who want more affordable electricity but can’t (their roof is the wrong shape, the roof is too shady, they live in rental housing) or prefer not to install solar panels. Instead, the program provides people the opportunity to save 10% or more on their energy bills—all without an initial infrastructure investment to install solar panels. What’s more, low-to-moderate income households in some states may qualify for higher levels of energy savings.
How does renewable energy help lower my electric bill?
Individuals and businesses subscribe to community solar farms in their community. Those farms connect to the electric grid, and the electricity is delivered by the local utility company to the community solar subscribers. It doesn’t change the amount of electricity they can use. When the utility company bills the users, the bill shows the electric usage as usual, but it also reflects deductions in the form of solar credits simply by choosing renewable energy.
How much someone saves may vary month to month depending on a number of variables, including weather conditions that may increase or decrease production. No matter how much energy is produced, it does not affect the amount of energy a person can use. Plus, everyone will save a guaranteed 10% or more on their energy bills.
What can you do with your savings?
Saving money by accessing affordable electricity is a great idea. And those savings can add up. Think of what you might be able to do with those savings long-term: Put away money for a vacation, add upgrades to your home, sock away some extra in your retirement or child’s college funds, or make a donation to that deserving nonprofit you want to support.
Supporting local communities
There’s another aspect of community solar that might not have as direct a financial benefit as a lowered electric bill, but it’s worth considering. Solar farms employ local people (in fact the solar industry employs more people than oil, coal, and natural gas plants combined). Those people contribute to the tax base of your community, allowing your local area to have more funding for improvements. They also spend income at local businesses, helping keep them alive and thriving. In other words, not only can you access affordable electricity and save on energy bills, you can help the financial life of your community.
Interested but still not sure? Take our quiz to help you determine if community solar is for you.