How Does Community Solar Billing Work?

Solar panels in a community solar farm
  • Oct 29, 2021

Consumers interested in solar power now have a new option: Community Solar. It’s a new way to achieve some of the same financial and environmental benefits of solar energy—without having to install your own solar panels.

With Community Solar, the energy generated by a solar farm is shared by homeowners and renters in the local community who subscribe to that solar farm. The electricity produced by the solar farm goes onto the local power grid and generates solar credits that reduce members’ bills. 

So how exactly does billing work?

Here’s How Billing Works with CleanChoice Energy Community Solar

As a Community Solar member, you remain with your current utility and earn solar credits to reduce your annual electricity costs. You will receive two bills each month: one bill from CleanChoice Energy, and one bill from your utility (your normal monthly electricity bill). 

For your monthly electric bill from your utility, you will still receive and pay it the same way you do now. However, there will be a new section on your utility bill, which will include bill credits. Your bill credits are applied to your monthly utility bill to reduce the total amount you owe. Nothing changes about your electric supply service or the reliability of your electricity—you’ll just earn credits on your bill for your share of the power produced by the farm. 

Graphic explaining how billing and savings works with Community Solar with CleanChoice Energy

*This sample billing breakdown illustrates how solar credits are earned and applied to reduce electricity costs. Your monthly bill from CleanChoice Energy is based on your Allocation, which is the amount of solar energy that your share of the farm produced that month. Each member only pays for the solar credits that are produced by their allocated share of the farm. 

Typical Community Solar members save about 5% to 10% off their annual electricity costs by joining. For example, a member who pays $90 for the value of solar credits at a rate that’s a 10% discount could expect to see their utility bill reduced by about $100 in solar credits for that period—resulting in a savings of $10 for that month. Over the lifetime of your community solar membership, the difference can add up to thousands of dollars in savings—filling your wallet full of sunshine.

Seasonal Changes in Solar Production and Electricity Consumption

Solar farms rely on the sun to produce energy. But some days are sunnier or longer than others, and some days are cloudier or shorter. This means that your Community Solar farm will produce more solar energy on certain days and during certain months than it does on other days or months. So what does this mean for your billing?

You may notice your Community Solar bill and bill credits are higher during months when the farm produces more solar energy. Farms typically produce more solar energy during the summer months when the days are longer. If your solar farm subscription produces more credits than you can use in a single billing cycle, these credits can roll over and be applied to future utility bills.

You may notice your Community Solar bill and bill credits are lower when the farm does not produce as much solar energy. During months with shorter days, you may notice fewer bill credits applied to your utility bill. Previously earned credits will apply towards your current balance.

The Positive Environmental Impacts of Community Solar

While the financial savings for Community Solar members can add up to thousands of dollars over time, the positive environmental impact adds up quickly as well. Based on the average amount of electricity produced by one of our Community Solar farms, the solar energy generated would have an environmental impact equivalent to:

  • 340 trees planted; or

  • 1,732,534.26 lbs of coal not burned; or

  • 41,417 trash bags of waste recycled instead of landfilled; or

  • 2,375,062 miles not driven (by a gas-powered car)!

Interested in Signing Up for Community Solar?

CleanChoice Energy currently offers Community Solar in Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota,, and Washington, D.C. Access to solar farm space is exclusive, with membership limited to qualified residents. Sign up today: secure your spot, join your local solar farm, and help save both money and the planet!

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