When most people think “solar,” they picture construction workers installing large, black panels on to your roof. While residential solar has been a great way to transition to clean energy for many years, most of us don’t have the ideal roof for solar. There could be a number of reasons for this, whether that’s because of how the sun hits it or the shape of our houses. Many of us rent or simply can’t afford it.

But if you still support clean energy, what can you today do to lower your carbon emissions?

Well, there’s a new way for you to have access to clean energy by adding it to your existing utility account -- and it saves you money. It’s called Community Solar.

What is Community Solar?

Community Solar is a new program in New York State, passed by Governor Andrew Cuomo as a part of New York’s Renewing The Energy Vision plan. Thanks to this program, solar power is now accessable to everyone.

The way the program works is a solar developer builds a large array of panels in an empty field or on the roof of a building. New York electric utilities, including National Grid, NYSEG, and RGE are now required to let anyone sign up to receive this electricity. Technically what happens is when you sign up, a provider like Common Energy, notifies your utility that you want to support clean energy. Once you sign up, the clean electricity will show up on your existing bill as a clean energy credit, which lowers your bill, to help you save money and lower carbon emissions in your environment.

The best part is there is absolutely no cost to sign up - Your electric utility has already committed to buying this clean energy from the solar farm, and you get to benefit.

The credit receive will power your house and your neighbors’, completely offsetting your energy needs with 100% clean electricity. These projects, which are NY State and NYSERDA approved are being built in your area now.

Then, residents, like you, sign up online at commonenergy.us to receive that clean energy. The good news is that your local utility has already committed to buying this clean electricity from the solar array -- and you get to benefit.

After you receive these clean energy credits, Common Energy will invoice you for 90% of the value of the credit, locking in that 10% savings for you. There’s no long term contract, but you can continue seeing these savings for up to 20 years if you stay in the program!

How does it work?

So let’s walk through an example. Let’s say that you live in the Albany area and receive your electricity from National Grid. When you sign up with Common Energy, we will notify National Grid that you wish to receive clean energy credits on your bill. How many credits you receive is determined by how much electricity you use in a year. An average household uses 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, and will save approximately $100 per year just by signing up. You can renew this agreement for up to 20 years. Even better, all of that electricity is 100% clean, and will prevent 4,000 pounds of carbon emissions each year. It’s a double win: for you, and the environment.

The sign-up process only takes 4-5 minutes, and you can do it directly from your computer or phone. There is no installation, no switching, only savings. The only thing you need is your electric utility number and a way for us to invoice you. You can sign up here to get started!