What is Community Solar?

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When most people think of going solar the first thing that comes to mind is putting solar panels on the roof of their building.  Oftentimes though that just isn’t possible for a wide variety of reasons.  Instead of installing panels on your rooftop, Community Solar is a subscription service for local, clean energy.  The Community Solar projects that we build are the answer for schools, municipalities, and businesses that want to see more renewable energy here in Vermont but don’t have a roof that is right for the installation of panels.

In a Community Solar project, the panels are installed in an offsite solar farm.  The solar farm is connected directly to the local power grid and the renewable energy that it generates supplements the power that the utility would normally provide.  This local generation of electricity decreases the amount of power that the utility needs to get from other sources, many of which are from out-of-state power plants.  Right now in Vermont less than 43% of the electricity we all use is generated within our state, the remainder has to be imported from our neighbors at a cost of about $2 Billion annually.  More Community Solar projects in Vermont would provide greater energy independence for all of us, a more resilient local electric grid, and a more robust local economy by keeping that $2 Billion dollars here in the Green Mountain State.

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Participating in a Community Solar project is easy.  Local organizations such as farms, businesses, schools, and even towns can simply sign up as a subscriber to a Norwich Solar Farm that is connected to their local utility.  Usually when we think about subscribing to a new service like phone or internet there is a monthly cost to that subscription, but subscribing to a solar farm is different because it actually saves you money!  Every kilowatt hour of energy that the solar farm produces results in a monetary credit placed on a Community Solar subscriber’s electric bill.  Those monetary credits are called “Net Metering Credits” and they can be used to  reduce most of the line item charges on a customer’s electric bill, usually lowering the subscriber’s cost of service from the utility by about 75%.  

Subscribers then get a second bill each month from the solar farm operator.  This second bill is the subscription cost for participating in the Community Solar project, but it’s less than the value of the Net Metering Credits the subscriber received on their utility bill!  Since the cost of the subscription is less than the electricity credit value the customer receives, the result is an overall savings of around 5-10% compared to the cost of electricity service prior to subscribing. Who among us wouldn’t want to save an extra 5-10% on our bills each month, especially while doing something good for the environment?  Best of all, there is no cost to enroll as a subscriber to a Norwich Solar Farm and there doesn’t have to be any long-term commitment.


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To get started with your Community Solar subscription all you have to do is send us a copy of your last electric bill.  We’ll take a look at the numbers on the bill and figure out the appropriate amount of kilowatt hours of renewable energy you’ll need to cover your usage.  We’ll then match you up with the next available Norwich Solar Farm that is being built in your local utility’s service area.  Then you can be proud to contribute to a more vital local economy here in Vermont and to do your part in the battle against global climate change.  Click the easy signup link to get started today!  community solar infographic