Community Solar

I recently signed up for Community Solar through Neighborhood Sun, one of many such organizations around the country.

They sell the customer solar credits from a grid-connected solar farm at 5% less than the regular utility price. They take 80% of your average electric bill to bill you for solar credits. Then they transfer the credits to your regular utility bill so it is lower. Unlike the utility bill, you can pay the solar company with a credit card with no fee.

Since they are selling solar credits, standard utility fees do not apply.

There’s the convenience of automatic payment by rewards cards for much of the bill and contributing to clean energy.

For this project, it’s a three year contract but a guaranteed 5% discount means that’s not much of a concern to me. If you move out of the utility area there is no cancellation fee.

The contract length varies somewhat with the solar project.


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Is this better than Arcadia because of the 5% discount?

Yes, and for other reasons as well. No upfront payments with Neighborhood Sun, just a monthly bill at 5% reduced rates. Neighborhood Sun is generally more transparent and easier to use than Arcadia.

Arcadia offers 50% of electricity from renewables at no extra charge, but charges 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour more for 100% renewable power.

They have a separate Community Solar division.

[I signed up for Arcadia Solar a couple years ago, then had to ask for a refund due to an emergency. With some considerable effort I got the refund, but they put me on a blacklist and wouldn’t let me remain a member or rejoin. They even blocked my phone and email.]


A second Neighborhood Sun project is 10% off the utility price but it requires a 20 year contract. There is no cancellation fee, but 90-day notice is required. You would have to pay for 3 more months after the date you call to cancel.

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But only if you’re a Terp, right? Or did I gloss over something? In my neck of the woods, Duke Energy doesn’t seem friendly to customers saving money.

This one is Maryland only right now, but there are community solar programs in most states.

You may be able to find one in your state.

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I’m now getting 10% off the utility price just by switching from credit card to auto checking withdrawal.