If you’re considering solar energy for your organization, but onsite solar installation is not feasible for your property, or properties, there are numerous benefits to be gained from community solar.
How Businesses Benefit from Community Solar
Did you know that you don’t need to have solar panels installed on your property to take advantage of the cost savings and sustainability benefits of commercial solar? Unlike the more common ‘behind the meter’ solar, where solar panels are installed on a building or property (also known as onsite solar), community solar allows businesses to effectively purchase solar energy from panels that are not on its property and not owned by the business itself. Community solar fields consist of panels that generate renewable electricity and feed that electricity into the utility grid.
How Community Solar Works
Subscribers or members of a community solar project may sign up to use a portion of the electricity generated from community solar panels. Businesses and residents alike can buy this solar energy to offset the electricity they are using at their facility or home. The utility will then recognize each subscriber as participating in the program and will issue energy credits on the subscriber’s utility bill.
In order to participate in community solar, your state needs to have a program in place that allows “virtual net metering”. Virtual net metering provides a business with credits on its utility bill for the grid-connected solar it receives through a community solar project. Fortunately, community solar projects are located in the majority of U.S. states.
If you are considering community solar for your business, it’s important to make sure that your utility bill is large enough to offset the credits you may receive by participating. The credits can only be applied to your utility bill, not a separate supplier bill. Companies can consider consolidating the supplier charges on their utility bill, but it’s important to note that not all suppliers and utilities will provide consolidated billing. Check with your Usource energy consultant to help better understand any billing implications you may have. State rules may allow credits to be re-allocated among multiple sites in the same electric utility load zones.
In cases where you are looking to claim the value of the environmental attributes of community solar, it is important to understand where the actual environmental value is going. For example, in New York, the official environmental value of community solar goes to the utility. The utility is using the environmental attributes to meet its renewable standards on its system. Because of this, you will not be able to claim the environmental attribute, but rather only receive the energy credit on the bill. If part of your goal is to be able to make the environmental claim, you may want to consider Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).
Community Solar Enables New York Housing Authority to Realize Savings and Mitigate Risk
The Housing Authority was looking for guidance on project financing, solar energy solutions, risk assessment and procurement.
Community Solar Services
Energy Strategy Consulting
We work with you to understand your goals and objectives and help determine if becoming a subscriber of community solar makes sense as a part of your energy strategy.
We assess the feasibility of community solar in your area and provide recommendations based on your desired results.
As an independent consultant, we will develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) on your behalf, then review offers gathered from numerous renewable energy service providers.
Energy Budget Analysis
Usource will provide an energy budget analysis showing the impact of the energy bill credits from Community Solar on your organization’s energy budget.
Streamlining Commercial Solar
Check out this white paper for insight into how large organizations are realizing significant business value by incorporating commercial solar into their energy mix.
Why choose Usource?
Usource is part of the NextEra Energy family of companies, the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy. As part of NextEra Energy, Usource is uniquely positioned to analyze, facilitate, and execute your renewable energy project and ensure it is a cohesive fit with your overall energy strategy. With deep industry knowledge and a vast network of providers, our energy advisors will help you find the ideal energy solution.