The following is from Sustainable Westchester:
Community Solar offers residents a way to have a positive environmental impact by “greening the grid” at the same time enjoying a guaranteed savings of up to 10 percent on their electricity bills without the need for solar panels on their property, contracts, sign-up or cancellation fees.
Sustainable Westchester, a nonprofit consortium of member Westchester municipalities, has added to its portfolio of energy solutions for Westchester County communities. For the first time, it is now providing opportunities for all Westchester residents—both Con Ed and NYSEG customers—to subscribe to Sustainable Westchester’s Community Solar.
The Community Solar program increases equitable access for Westchester residents to support renewable energy.
What is community solar, and how does it work?
A community solar project enables people to subscribe to a large solar farm located in their utility area with no cost to join and no cost to cancel. The energy produced from the solar farm is sent to the electric grid, and subscribers receive a credit on their electricity bill representing their share of the value of that energy. Subscribers then pay the owner of the solar farm a discounted amount for that solar credit—resulting in savings on their electricity bill of up to 10 percent.
The New York State Public Service Commission regulates community solar to ensure consumer protection, and the approach is integral to achieving the state’s ambitious climate goals, including more than tripling solar energy production by 2025.
Supervisor Warren Lucas, a recent subscriber, had this to add; “I signed up for Community Solar in just a few minutes without any complicated contracts or fees required. I am excited to be a part of this new program that complements the Westchester
Power program and creates an additional positive environmental impact in the community, and I am looking forward to the benefit of cost savings on my home electric bill.”
How does this differ from solar panels installed on your rooftop or property?
Since 2015, Sustainable Westchester has helped Westchester residents install solar panels more easily and inexpensively. While rooftop solar offers great benefits for eligible homeowners, the majority of Westchester residents are unable to participate. Among those who are excluded are those who rent or who own in multifamily buildings, those who cannot afford to purchase or are unable to lease a system, homeowners with shady roofs, and those who cannot fully benefit from the tax credits that make systems more affordable. Community solar enables almost everyone to support and benefit from solar installations.
How does this work with current utilities and already installed home solar panels?
Sustainable Westchester’s Community Solar is compatible with both Sustainable Westchester’s Westchester Power program, Con Edison, NYSEG, and other ESCOs. If you already have solar on your property, or if you are a NYSEG customer on budget/level billing, unfortunately, you cannot subscribe to community solar.
How do residents get more information and sign up?
If this is of interest, Sustainable Westchester cautions that space is limited and available on a first-come basis. Enrolling is easy, but does require automated payment for the solar credits and may include a soft credit check. For more information and to enroll, residents can visit Solarize Westchester website. Resident questions can be directed to 914-242-4725 or email email@example.com.
About Sustainable Westchester
Sustainable Westchester is a not-for-profit consortium of Westchester County local governments facilitating effective collaboration resulting in sustainability initiatives and cutting-edge innovation. Our goal is to bring socially responsible, environmentally sound, and economically viable solutes that create healthy, vibrant communities.
Sustainable Westchester’s portfolio of energy solutions includes Westchester Power, the first in NYS Community Choice Aggregation program that provides 100% NYS hydropower and fixed electricity supply rates to its customers. Currently, Westchester Power is the default supplier in 27 County municipalities servicing 125,000 customers. In the first three years of the program, Westchester Power has made a significant environmental impact eliminating 500,000 metric tons of C02. HeatSmart, an energy efficiency, clean heating, and cooling solution, provides options for home and commercial buildings through geothermal or air source heat pumps. HeatSmart provides a valuable solution for all Westchester residents and businesses and, importantly, for those in current gas constricted areas.