Our Saratoga Springs Project Goes Live in December

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Frequently Asked Questions

Community solar isn’t complicated, and it’s easy to sign up for – but it may be new to you. We’ve got answers to commonly asked questions here. You can also check out this glossary of terms commonly used in the community solar space.

General

A community solar project, sometimes referred to as a garden or farm, is a collection of solar panels called an array that supplies electricity to a local power grid serving the region. Community solar projects exist to bring the benefits of solar power to members of a community who may not be able – or who prefer not – to install solar panels where they live or work. People who participate by subscribing to the project benefit from the electricity generated by the community solar project, which costs less than what they would normally pay to their utility for electricity.

No, you can only subscribe to a single community solar project at one time.

Of course. We’ve created this glossary of terms commonly used in the community solar space.

Contact us to see if your project’s developer allows visitors. You can check your community solar dashboard to view photos of your project’s construction progress.

We partner with community solar developers and help them find subscribers for their projects – residents and small business owners like you who want to support renewable energy but didn’t have that as an option before. We connect you with a local community solar project that delivers renewable energy to your power grid and, once you’re a subscriber, work with your utility provider to make sure you receive solar credits that lead to energy savings. As a Nelnet company, we offer you the same exceptional customer service and streamlined payment processing we’ve applied to a wide range of businesses.

Yes, we’re continuing to add projects throughout the country. You can sign up for our waitlist and we’ll keep you in the loop as we offer programs in your area.

Savings and Billing

Yes. Once your project starts generating energy, you’ll receive solar credits on your utility bill that help cover your payment. On a new bill for your community solar subscription, you’ll pay for those solar credits at a discounted rate. With the discounted rate you receive on the solar credits you pay for, you’ll actually save on your overall energy costs. Generally, people who subscribe to a community solar project save up to 10% on their energy costs each month. We offer flexible billing and payment options, including AutoPay, allowing you to easily manage your account.

No, there are no upfront costs or fees.

Your utility account information helps us confirm that you’re in the project’s coverage area and that you’re the account holder. This also helps us verify your annual energy usage, so that we can calculate your allocation of the project’s total energy production. This information will also be used to ensure you receive your solar credits on your standard utility bill.

When you subscribe to community solar, you purchase a portion of the project’s energy production. For your subscription, you receive solar credits that are applied to your utility bill each month and typically cover your utility bill’s charges. Since you’re charged on your community solar subscription bill at a discounted rate, when you compare the credits on your utility bill and your subscription bill with your charges, you’ll typically see monthly savings. Most people using community solar save up to 10% on their monthly energy costs. 1 (You can watch your solar credits accruing in your community solar dashboard, if you’d like.)

Yes. With community solar, you receive two invoices – but you save on energy costs. With community solar, New York residents have the opportunity to save up to 10% on their electrical costs.1 Below is an example that demonstrates your savings potential. On his community solar bill, Jake pays – at a discounted rate – just $90 in charges for his subscription, or his portion of the solar project’s energy production. Jake continues to receive his standard utility bill, which includes his electrical usage and charges, as well as his solar credits (worth $100) that are applied from his community solar subscription’s production. Even though Jake has two bills now, with the solar credits applied to his utility bill – and the discounted charges on his solar bill – he’s actually paying $90, which is less than the $100 he used to pay on his energy costs. As a community solar subscriber, you can expect to see savings of up to 10% on your energy costs. Your cost savings is dependent on your energy usage and the portion of the community solar project allocation you receive. Your individual solar project allocation would be determined, using your current monthly energy usage with your existing utility company. There is a capped savings potential of up to 10% on your monthly electrical costs based on New York’s community solar program rules. You can also reference the example image below, which visually shows your current bill and your bills with community solar.

Graphic explaining the community solar billing process

We’ll notify you when your project goes live. You can expect to see solar credits on your utility bill within 30-60 days after that, depending on where your enrollment falls within your utility billing cycle and the solar developer’s billing cycle.

Your community solar subscription will begin when your local project begins producing power. This generally happens within a month or two of subscriptions opening up, but the timing can vary. We’ll notify you before your project goes live to let you know when your subscription (and your savings) will begin. For your convenience, we’ll try to coordinate the timing of the billing statement for your subscription with your utility billing statement.

You’ll still receive your utility bill, but it will show a credit – in the form of your solar credits – for your community solar subscription’s energy production.

No. You’re not responsible for any costs related to insurance, installation, or maintenance on your portion of the solar project.

Yes, we offer e-billing, one-time payments, and enrollment in AutoPay.

Yes, you can. As long as the third party ESCO supply charges are included on your utility bill, solar credits you receive from your community solar subscription will offset some, if not all, of the supply and delivery per kilowatt hour charges on your residential utility bill. If you’re billed and pay for your supply charges directly to the third party ESCO and not through your utility, then the solar credits will offset only the delivery per kilowatt hour charges on your utility bill. ESCO rates are a bit different than standard utility rates, but you’ll still receive a good savings on your bill from signing up for community solar. Still not sure if it makes sense for you? Give us a call and we can talk through it together.

No. We don’t use introductory rates. We set rates based on your contract and historical utility usage so that they continue to provide consistent savings throughout your contract period.

Subscription

If you move and your new address is in the same project territory, you can remain subscribed to the same project – but please let us know so we can update your information. If you move outside the project coverage area, please call us. We may have another project available in your new neighborhood. If you change your mind, there’s no fee to cancel. A notice is often required, and the length of any notice needed is explained in your agreement.

You may be eligible for several solar subscriptions and many projects have different product terms. The specific terms of your community solar subscription will be presented during sign-up. Contracts are flexible so if you move or change your mind, there’s no fee to cancel.

No. You’re not responsible for any costs related to insurance, installation, or maintenance on your portion of the solar project.

No. We don’t use introductory rates. We set rates based on your contract and historical utility usage so that they continue to provide consistent savings throughout your contract period.

Enrollment

To find out if you’re eligible, we ask you to enter your ZIP code, county, and utility provider to see if there’s an available project near you. If there is, we begin collecting basic information to set up your community solar account. You activate your account by validating an email we send you, and then you create an account password. We also ask you to provide your estimated average monthly utility usage (or you can log into your utility account instead), and then select your plan. Next, we do a soft credit check, which doesn’t affect your credit score – we promise. Lastly, you set up your preferred method of payment. It all takes just a few minutes.

We’re glad you asked! Yes, your business can save up to 10% on your monthly energy costs with a subscription to one of our community solar projects. We make it easy for a business of any size to support environmental sustainability – and to start seeing monthly energy cost savings – by completing this form.

Your utility account information helps us confirm that you’re in the project’s coverage area and that you’re the account holder. This also helps us verify your annual energy usage, so that we can calculate your allocation of the project’s total energy production. This information will also be used to ensure you receive your solar credits on your standard utility bill.

When you subscribe to community solar, you purchase a portion of the project’s energy production. For your subscription, you receive solar credits that are applied to your utility bill each month and typically cover your utility bill’s charges. Since you’re charged on your community solar subscription bill at a discounted rate, when you compare the credits on your utility bill and your subscription bill with your charges, you’ll typically see monthly savings. Most people using community solar save up to 10% on their monthly energy costs. 1 (You can watch your solar credits accruing in your community solar dashboard, if you’d like.)

We’ll notify you when your project goes live. You can expect to see solar credits on your utility bill within 30-60 days after that, depending on where your enrollment falls within your utility billing cycle and the solar developer’s billing cycle.

You’ll still receive your utility bill, but it will show a credit – in the form of your solar credits – for your community solar subscription’s energy production.

We’ll link you to your community solar account dashboard, which will show you the project’s energy output and impact on the environment – and eventually your portion of the project’s output. If your project isn’t yet completed when you enroll, you can track its progress on your community solar dashboard. We’ll also keep you updated along the way. Your first solar credits should appear on your utility bill within 30-60 days after your project goes live, depending on how your billing cycle falls.

You may be eligible for several solar subscriptions and some require credit checks while others do not. The specific terms of your community solar subscription will be presented during sign-up. If a credit check is required, it will be a soft credit check which doesn’t affect your credit score in any way.

If you don’t pass the credit check for the plan you’ve selected, you’ll be shown other plans that you qualify for. If you don’t qualify for any plans at this time, we’ll let you know that. We encourage you to check back with us at a later time if your credit score improves to see if you qualify for a plan. And again, our soft credit check doesn’t affect your credit score.

Yes, we’re continuing to add projects throughout the country. You can sign up for our waitlist and we’ll keep you in the loop as we offer programs in your area.

Yes, you can. As long as the third party ESCO supply charges are included on your utility bill, solar credits you receive from your community solar subscription will offset some, if not all, of the supply and delivery per kilowatt hour charges on your residential utility bill. If you’re billed and pay for your supply charges directly to the third party ESCO and not through your utility, then the solar credits will offset only the delivery per kilowatt hour charges on your utility bill. ESCO rates are a bit different than standard utility rates, but you’ll still receive a good savings on your bill from signing up for community solar. Still not sure if it makes sense for you? Give us a call and we can talk through it together.

Environmental Impact

Community solar projects help save the environment because the energy they generate does not produce greenhouse gases or contribute to air or water pollution. By using solar energy to replace or reduce use of other, less environmentally friendly energy sources, we can have a positive effect on our world. Once you subscribe to a project with Nelnet Renewable Energy, your community solar dashboard shows the solar energy generated, and the environmental impact, of your project – so you can see the difference you’re making!

Sign Up for Community Solar

Are you ready to save up to 10% on your monthly energy costs, all while helping the environment? See if you’re eligible to join a community solar project near you. 1

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844.584.3213