Instead of getting electricity from solar panels on your roof, you can get the benefit of solar from panels on a farm. It's probably easier than you think. If you've thought about reducing your cost of electricity and environmental impact with solar but haven't done it, a solar farm could be the solution for you.
Getting electricity from a solar farm is similar to the most common way of getting electricity from solar panels on your roof. The electricity is carbon-free. You stay connected to the grid. You keep your current utility and continue to receive the same monthly utility bill. If you have chosen an alternative supplier (also known as an ESCO) you keep that too. Just as panels on your roof result in credits on your electric bill, panels on a solar farm also result in credits on your electric bill.
Rooftop Solar vs. Solar Farm
There are differences between rooftop solar and a solar farm. One of the biggest differences is that subscribing to a solar farm is easy and it takes less than five minutes to sign-up. Solar panels on a solar farm don't require the use of your roof. So, if you're roof isn't suitable for solar panels or if you live in an apartment, you can still go solar. Because the solar panels are already installed at the solar farm, there is no installation at your home and no permits or inspections at your home. If you've found solar panels on your roof would require you to cut trees to reduce shade, the solar farm allows you to let your trees grow.
Community Solar in New York State
It's only recently that homes in New York State have been able to connect with a solar farm. New York State's community shared solar program is modeled after programs that have already been in place in Colorado, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. The community shared solar program is a result of New York State's Shared Renewables initiative announced by the Governor in 2015, and solar farms are now coming on-line.
ESCO vs. New York State's Community Shared Solar Program
If you have an ESCO you can still connect with a solar farm. New York State's community shared solar program is different than an ESCO. Community shared solar requires electricity to be 100% solar, produced-locally, and provide credits on your electric bill, as if you had solar panels on your roof. With community shared solar you save money by paying for solar that benefits the local economy.
If you have a roof that's suitable for solar and want to put solar panels on your roof, that's the best thing you can do for the planet. But if you represent the ~80% of households whose roof is not suitable, signing up for a solar farm will make biggest positive impact on your home's carbon foot-print and budget. Now everyone can go solar with a solar farm!