How Community Solar Really Works

General By Nelnet Renewable Energy November 20, 2020

While you may know how solar works, you may not understand exactly how community solar works. Let’s see if we can clear that up.

While many people would like to support renewable energy use, this isn’t always a viable option for many homeowners, renters, and small businesses. Solar panel installation isn’t possible with the rooftops of many homes and businesses – and the expense of permits, installation, panels, and insurance can be prohibitive for many people.

How Community Solar Works

With community solar, you get the benefits of solar energy without start-up costs and without having solar panels located at your residence or business. Instead, all the solar panels that will be used in a community are placed in a field or on top of a building with good sun exposure. Called a solar garden, solar farm, or solar project, this collection of panels generates clean, renewable energy which is then supplied to a nearby utility grid, replacing fossil fuels.

When you’re a resident or small business that subscribes to a local community solar project, you receive energy from your utility as usual, but, as a subscriber, you’ll receive solar credits on your utility bill for the energy generated by the solar farm. This results in guaranteed savings on your electricity costs. Here is a graphic that shows how the solar energy produced is sent through your existing utility company and to your community:

Graphic explaining how community solar works

How You Save Money With Community Solar

When you participate in community solar, a portion of your electricity comes from solar energy produced by your project. You save money because the solar energy produced by your project is less expensive to produce than other energy sources. Most residents and businesses who join a community solar project save up to 10% on their monthly electric bill.

Sound Too Good To Be True?

It does – but it’s not. The only real downside to community solar is that it isn’t yet available everywhere. Solar Energy Industries Association notes that as of 2019, there were 40 states with at least one community solar farm online, however there may not yet be a community solar farm available for you. If you happen to be lucky enough to have a nearby project available to you, don’t wait to sign up since there are limited spots available with each community solar project.

Now that you know how community solar works, why not learn more about how community solar works with Nelnet Renewable Energy? We’ve got multiple projects going live in the coming weeks, and we’re adding new projects in various areas – and working with new utility companies – all the time.

It takes just five minutes to sign up for an available project or less to get added to our waitlist. We can let you know when a project becomes available near you. If you still have questions about community solar we haven’t answered, just contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer them.

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Are you ready to save on your monthly energy costs and help the environment? See if you’re eligible to join a community solar project near you.