If you pay an electric bill, you might be able to join a community solar garden (CSG). They are a popular way to “rent” available solar energy each month. You become a subscriber to the garden by signing a contract for a specified amount of time. Then credit shows up on your monthly electric bill.
You do not own any of the solar panels, and you will continue to pay a fee each month for your portion of the garden’s energy production. If you’re interested in learning more about using the community solar garden system of delivering solar energy, check out these three questions.
Three questions to ask before choosing a community solar garden provider
- What is the term of my subscription?
If you are renter with a shorter-term lease, you’ll want to seek out a contract that offers you a workable period of time. Most community solar garden subscriptions are for a term of 25 years.
- What if I move, want to cancel, or die before the contract expires?
CSGs have different rules and fees for early cancellation, so you’ll want to ensure you understand the company’s contract terms for changes and actions that might happen if you are no longer in the same location. Be sure to ask about fee structures for any of these changes.
You’ll want to ask how you go about transferring your contract to another subscriber, what happens if you are moving within your utility company’s territory, and what happens if you are moving out of the utility territory. You’ll also want to find out what happens if you want to cancel the contract outright, or what will happen if the contract owner dies.
- How much will the cost of my subscription increase over time?
Subscription rates typically rise over time, and the rate of increase of your subscription should be clearly spelled out in the contract.
If you'd like to know more about solar power for your home, contact your local solar installer for a free quote and to learn more about which type of solar installation is right for you.
Download our eBook, Home vs. Community Solar, to learn more about the major differences between owning your own solar panel system and joining a community solar garden—and which option is right for you!