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Save money by switching to solar: community programs allow subscriptions instead of installations

“It's about taking your energy future into your hands.”
Community solar options grow
Save money on your utility bill by switching to solar
Solar energy is the fasting growing form of renewable energy
Posted at 4:19 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 17:20:22-05

Have you ever wanted to make the switch to solar energy, but hit roadblocks because you rent or own a home that doesn't face the sun? To solve that issue, the Department of Energy is raising awareness for a different kind of solar panel program that powers your home through subscriptions instead of installations.

Garrett Nilsen is the deputy director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office, a branch of the DOE. He says more Americans are looking into alternative power options.

"I think there's a lot of people who are interested," Nilsen said. "In large parts of the U.S., if not all of the U.S., solar is a competitive energy source."

While less than five percent of the country's energy currently comes from solar programs, it is the fastest-growing renewable energy source. In fact, Consumer Affairs estimates 3.2 million homeowners have installed solar panels nationwide.

Now there's a new option to make solar more accessible to everyone. "Community solar is a newer business model for solar energy," Nilsen said, explaining that the programs are simple and allow anyone to benefit from clean energy without installing panels themselves.

"Individual homeowners can subscribe to get the benefits from that system accredited to their electric bill."
Garrett Nilsen

That means people who rent, anyone who lives in a condo and might not have access to the roof, or homeowners whose house sits in shade or faces away from the sun.

While many of the programs work slightly differently, they typically allow anyone to pay a subscription fee, then get a discount on their utility bill.

Nilsen says being part of a community solar program will likely save you money on electricity costs and benefit the environment. "It's about taking your energy future into your hands."