Community Solar FAQ
At some point, you’ve probably passed a field full of solar panels called a solar farm. Community solar allows you to get power from a solar farm like that, so that you don’t have to deal with the cost and hassle of installing solar at your own home. It’s a great way for you to save money on power, support sustainable energy generation and create jobs.
Each Community Solar program differs by state and utility territory but all of the community solar programs we represent are state regulated and supported by your local state government in concert with a participating utility company. For more general information and resources on community solar programs, please visit Energy.gov
Many of our solar farms allow renters to subscribe. Welcome to community solar!
- Save money on your power bill - The power that you get through community solar is guaranteed to cost less than what the utility charges.
- No upfront investment - There’s nothing to buy or install.
- Support clean energy - Not only does “going green save you green,” you promote clean energy and the jobs that it creates.
- Sign Up with Onesta – We’ll connect you with a solar farm in your area.
- Provide Us with a Credit Card Number or ACH Routing Number – This holds your spot in the solar farm and guarantees you start receiving your credits from the first day your subscription is active.
- Get Clean Energy for Less – Each month, the energy generated by your solar farm subscription is applied to your utility bill in the form of solar credits. On average, a community solar subscription will save you 10% annually on your electricity.
- Enjoy Your Solar Credits – If you use less energy in a given month than you’ve subscribed to from community solar, then your remaining solar credits roll over to your next month’s utility bill. If you use more energy in a given month than you have solar credits for, simply pay your utility the balance.
Providing us with your secured ACH/Credit Card information triggers “auto-enrollment,” which is important because there are limited number of subscriptions available. We want to be sure that you get credit for your support from the first day of operation of the solar farm or the first day that your subscription is activated.
Keep in mind that you can change your payment method anytime through our customer portal or by contacting Customer Support.
On average, a community solar subscription will save you 10% annually on your electricity.
We hear that a lot! The truth is that you will save money and there’s no catch. It’s part of why community solar has grown from 1 community solar farm to over 400 in the past 7 years, and why 46 states now have a community solar program.
If that happens, your credits can be "banked” and applied to your next bill. Community solar is set up to be fair for subscribers and good for the environment.
Onesta does not replace your electric provider. One of the advantages of community solar is that it connects to the “grid,” and offsets your energy consumption with the power produced by the garden.
You have enough to worry about when moving, so we keep it simple. If you move locally, your community solar credits and savings move with you. If you move outside the service area, you can transfer your credits to someone else or cancel the subscription, whatever works best for you.
You will pay on average 10% LESS for the power you get from the solar farm, regardless of the rate from your electric utility.
No, you are not eligible to receive tax credits or rebates.
Yes, you can switch electric suppliers. However, we recommend that you talk with us before switching, so we can make sure that your monthly credits are applied correctly.
We doubt you ever will. But, if you do, we’ll work with you to make ending your subscription a smooth process. Many solar energy providers offer no-cost termination with proper notice. We’ll make sure you understand every part of your agreement when you sign up for community solar, including how to end your subscription.
Frequent Technical Questions
The amount of energy produced does change with the seasons and weather, but solar panels produce energy even when it’s cloudy. First, you’ll always have the power you need because you are still connected to your electrical utility. In the unusual event that the solar farm produces less energy than you’ve subscribed to, you will only be billed for the energy that is produced.
Yes, it can.
Since you continue receiving power directly from your utility, you will continue having power if there is garden downtime.
Unlike rooftop solar, anyone can participate. There’s no upfront investment or costly installation of solar panels on your roof. You also don’t have to worry about the long-term maintenance of your solar panels with community solar. For many people, roof-top solar may not be an option due to the fact they are renting the home, the size of their roof or even surrounding vegetation.
Your solar developer is responsible for maintenance and taking care of any repairs. Of course, it’s in their best interest to make sure that the system is providing as much energy as possible, so they are motivated to quickly respond to any issues.
Today, solar panels are built to last 20 years. They do tend to become less efficient over time, losing about 1% efficiency per year. However, because you only pay for energy produced, and savings are guaranteed, degradation poses you zero risk.
Net metering is the system that utilities use to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay the utility for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate.