This guest blog post was was written by Lyla Fitch, EnergySage Energy Advisor
If you support clean energy but cannot put solar panels on your home or business, community solar may be a good option for you. Anyone who pays an electric bill including renters, homeowners, and even business or nonprofit owners can subscribe to a community solar farm in MD. It’s free and easy to sign up or cancel, saves you 5-10% on your annual electric bills, and supports a sustainable future – and the EnergySage Community Solar Marketplace is a tool to help you get started.
Read on or watch these short informational videos to learn more:
Have you ever seen large solar arrays while driving down the highway? In many cases, these are community solar projects. Also referred to as solar farms, shared solar, solar gardens, or roofless solar, a community solar project is a large, central power plant that generates electricity for the grid. Community solar is a great option for residents who want to support solar and pay less for electricity without the hassle of installing solar panels.
#1 You don’t need to own your home
Most landlords won’t let you renovate your apartment’s kitchen; and unfortunately, most won’t let you install a solar system on the roof. One of the things we love most about community solar is that you only need an electric bill and a utility company with open projects to be eligible. It’s that simple.
Whether you’re a renter, are part of a homeowner’s association that doesn’t support rooftop solar, or have a roof with too much shading, you can sign up for a community solar farm and still take advantage of solar energy production. No equipment is required.
#2 You’ll save 5-20% on annual electricity costs
Are you paying more and more for electricity every year? If so, you’re not alone: Between 2018 and 2022, the average residential electricity cost increased by over 17%. Community solar can help you recoup some of these costs.
When you purchase bill credits from your community solar provider, you get them at a 5-20% discount, depending on your initial contract. If your community solar subscription includes a 10% discount on bill credits, you’ll receive $1 towards your utility bill charges for every 90 cents you pay your community solar provider – meaning you pocket 10 cents of savings.
While 10 cents doesn’t seem like much, over the hundreds or thousands you spend on electric bills each year, 90 cents for every dollar leads to decent savings.
#3 It’s easy to join and easy to cancel
We’ve already mentioned that joining a community solar program requires no change in utility service, but that doesn’t scratch the surface of how easy it is. Most community solar options charge nothing upfront. You’ll only pay once you receive bill credits on your monthly utility bill.
Also, many programs require no long-term commitment. If you end up moving or decide you don’t want to participate any longer, you can typically cancel without a penalty. You may need to give your provider the cancellation notice a few months (typically 90 or 180 days) in advance so they have time to cancel your subscription with your utility company.
Learn more about the benefits of community solar.
EnergySage’s mission is to empower people everywhere to switch to affordable, reliable clean energy solutions with trusted resources, unbiased advice, and a simple shopping experience. As subject matter experts, we provide only objective information. Every article we write is designed to provide consumers with deeply-researched, factual, useful information so that you can make informed home electrification and financial decisions.
The Community Solar Marketplace is where you can see a list of open community solar farm projects available to you and get a quick estimate of potential savings. All of the farms listed on the marketplace have been vetted and have a proven track record in the solar industry. Additional available solar farms are being added on a regular basis – so check back if you don’t find one that is right for you.
Signing up for a community solar farm is easier with the ability to shop around for farms available to you based on your current utility provider. Get started by visiting energysage.com/p/MontgomeryDEP/ and following these steps:
If you have any questions along the way, we have a team of dedicated Energy Advisors who are happy to help, either over the phone or via email. Learn more about how to sign up for community solar and find additional information in our Community Solar guide.