Here’s how renters can lower their electricity bills with solar


Renters can’t access rooftop solar benefits because they don’t own their roofs – but this workaround will reduce your electricity bill.

Electrek spoke with Bruce Stewart, CEO of Perch Energy, one of the US’s largest pure-play community solar providers that’s connected over 23,000 subscriptions, about how renters can tap into solar. And community solar’s potential is vast – the US could add nearly 1 terawatt of community solar capacity if all technically viable community solar is deployed, according to a new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Electrek: How does community solar plug the gap for renters?

Bruce Stewart: Community solar helps to fill this “missing middle” of solar production in a way that renters and disadvantaged communities can access. 

Renters can sign up through community solar providers to subscribe to a certain amount of solar “credits” proportional to their monthly electricity usage. These credits cover most or all of the charges on their utility bill and come at a discount through community solar providers.

For example, if their electricity bill is $100, they would see $100 in credits from their community solar subscription reducing their electricity bill to $0. You pay for the credits, but at a discount somewhere between 5-20% depending on the project. This would net the customer in this scenario anywhere from $5-20 a month in savings off their electricity bill.  

So now, people who don’t have their own panels can share in a solar farm and see electric bill reductions, just like rooftop solar owners but without the capital investment. 

Electrek: Where do community solar panels go?

In the community! On top of schools, houses of worship, small businesses, community centers, factory rooftops, over parking lots and garages, former industrial areas not currently suitable for redevelopment – you name it. 

Community solar is perfect for filling in the nooks and crannies of urban, suburban, or rural areas that would otherwise go unused.

Electrek: How else does it help renters? 

Bruce Stewart: States receive federal funding to incentivize more solar development, allowing solar project owners to pass on energy bill discounts to residents and businesses like a reward for supporting clean energy development.

By connecting with a community solar company, renters can subscribe to a local solar farm for free, helping the connected utility to meet its state-set renewable electricity standard by sending clean power to the grid.

Community solar companies do the legwork and renters get to enjoy the benefits seamlessly, with no sign up or cancellation fees. A community solar subscription is also portable, meaning you can move to a new residence and your subscription will still be valid if it’s in the same utility service territory. Renters tend to change their living situations more frequently, so community solar really is a flexible benefit for them. 

Read more: This utility in the US Midwest is going to add 3.6 GW of wind and solar

With energy prices on the rise, Electrek wants to help as many people as possible take advantage of the benefits of solar, so we’ve teamed up with EnergySage to help you tap into community solar. Community solar saves renters and homeowners 5-20% on their electric bill, there’s no equipment and maintenance, and it’s fast and easy to sign up (no upfront costs). EnergySage also has dedicated Energy Advisers to answer any questions you have about community solar and help you sign up. Subscribe and save here. – ad*

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