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Frequently asked questions about SunShare Community Solar

  1. Solar panels in nearby solar gardens harness energy from the sun.
  2. The energy generated is then pumped directly onto your utility provider’s power grid to supplement their power supply with clean, renewable solar energy.
  3. You pay SunShare for the solar power produced.
  4. The utility company credits you for the solar power contributed to their grid. The monthly credits provided by your utility company are likely greater than your SunShare subscription rate, leading to savings on your overall electricity costs.

There is no direct electric line between your home and the solar garden. All of the electricity generated by your portion of the solar garden will flow onto your utility company’s grid.

No. Community solar lets you get the benefits of solar without construction on your roof. SunShare and your utility provider will handle the delivery of energy credits to your electric account.

Yes. Your utility provider still delivers power to your home and provides any energy you consume. The energy generated by the SunShare community solar garden simply supplements the utility company’s energy to help reduce its need for fossil fuels.

In the first year of your new SunShare subscription, the rate SunShare charges is lower than the current rate you will be credited for being a community solar subscriber from your utility company. The solar credit you receive from your utility company is based off of the retail rate of electricity. SunShare’s rate increases annually at a rate that is lower than the most recent 10-year average retail rate increase of electricity. Therefore, SunShare’s subscription rate is designed to be lower than the credits you receive from your utility company, resulting in total monthly savings. This is not guaranteed, however. If your utility company lowers its electricity rate or increases at less than its 10-year average, your credit amount may not cover your entire SunShare bill.

Your energy credits will start appearing on your electricity bill during the billing cycle following the month that your garden begins producing energy. SunShare’s monthly newsletters will keep you updated on when your garden is scheduled to come online. If you are an existing customer and not currently receiving the monthly newsletter, please email us at customercare@mysunshare.com.

Beginning approximately one month after your garden begins producing energy, you begin receiving a SunShare bill that reflects the amount of solar electricity the garden produced on your behalf. You will also continue to receive a bill from your utility company. That bill will now reflect solar credits for the amount of energy the garden produced on your behalf.

In most cases, the credits that you receive from your utility are more than your total SunShare bill, resulting in total monthly savings on your electricity bill.

SunShare will send out billing instructions approximately 30 days prior to your garden being energized. If you are an existing customer and not currently receiving our monthly newsletter, please email us at customercare@mysunshare.com.

No. Your subscription simply pays for the generation of the clean, renewable energy that is delivered to your utility company.

Your utility will continue to deliver you electricity, and you will only pay for the amount of energy the garden produces within your subscription. If the panels do not produce electricity for any reason, such as a natural disaster, massive snow storm, equipment malfunction, etc., you will not be charged. If the garden’s production decreases for any reason, you will simply receive a smaller bill from SunShare, and receive fewer energy credits from your utility provider. If the garden stops producing altogether, you will not receive a bill from SunShare or see solar credits on your electricity bill until the solar garden is back up and running.

One advantage to subscribing to SunShare is the flexible Solar Services Agreement. If you are moving within the same or an adjacent county of your utility service area, SunShare will help you transfer the subscription to your new address so you can continue to receive bill credits from your utility. For businesses with multiple premises, you may transfer your subscription to a new electric meter.

If at any point you wish to discontinue your subscription while you are still eligible, we will help you transfer your capacity to a new subscriber. If we absolutely cannot find someone to replace your capacity and you are still an eligible participant, we would have the right to issue you a fee. However, we do our best to maintain a waiting list at all times so that we can replace subscribers who can no longer participate for whatever reason.

If you are a Minnesota subscriber and become ineligible to participate in our program because you move outside of your utility provider’s territory, or can’t receive bill credits from them for any other reason, we simply require 60-days’ notice to cancel your agreement with no penalty to you.

No. Currently, there are no tax incentives associated with subscribing to a community solar program. SunShare, as the developer and owner of the solar garden, receives tax incentives, which help reduce subscribers’ rates.

  • SunShare gives our subscribers the opportunity to conveniently save money and save the environment.
  • We are one of the largest and most experienced community solar companies in the nation.
  • You don’t have to worry about maintaining the solar gardens.
  • There is no upfront cost.
  • We don’t charge any fixed fees such as a monthly or annual subscription fee. You just pay for the power your subscription produces.
  • Our Solar Services Agreement, unlike some of our competitors, is flexible enough to allow for an easy exit.

Yes, you can sign up any eligible property, as long as you are the account holder for the electricity bill. You will have to complete the Consent to Disclose Utility Customer Data form for each account number, a Subscriber Agency Agreement, and a Solar Services Agreement for each location.

Our Solar Services Agreement is 20 or 25 years, depending on the region. The contract length is based on the agreement we make with the utility partner to ensure that the distribution of the solar energy can be as efficient as possible. Your agreement entitles you to cost-saving solar bill credits, as well as the benefit of a locked-in low rate for your solar energy subscription, over the length of your contract.

Our Solar Services Agreements are flexible to allow for an easy transfer or cancellation if you move or need to end your subscription for any reason. See our transfer or cancellation FAQ

SunShare has set up a warranty-reserve fund to ensure the long-term operation and maintenance of the solar garden and to guarantee that the system will always be cared for and insured. The fund is supplied by a portion of the revenue from customers' Solar Services Agreements.

SunShare has community solar gardens in Colorado Springs and the Denver metro area that are providing solar electricity to 600+ customers. We have several more solar gardens under development in Minnesota that will be activated in 2017-2018. We site our ground-mounted solar gardens on land with good solar exposure and existing power distribution lines nearby.

We strive to leave the land better than we found it. We also try to build on brownfield sites which include land with limited uses such as old landfills or chemical spill sites. We commit to the following environmental practices when possible:

  • Land preservation – Solar gardens are built using low-impact pile-driving techniques. At the end of the solar garden’s life cycle, the solar panels can be removed with minimal impact to the land, leaving nutrient-rich soil that can be used for farming again.
  • Erosion reduction and improved water quality – When replacing row crops with vegetation, there is a significant reduction in erosion and storm water runoff, contributing to an improvement in local water quality.
  • Enhancement of local agriculture – When a pollinator-friendly seed mix is included below panels, you can enhance the agricultural production of neighboring fields.
  • Support the Pollinator Pledge – SunShare supports the Pollinator Pledge, which creates an ecosystem for monarch butterflies and honeybees to live onsite at solar gardens. For example, at our JeffCo Community Solar Garden we work with local bee farmers, Rice Family Apiaries, Llc to raise 16 bee colonies. We planted native wildflowers and low grow grasses to provide their honey bees with land for grazing and foraging.

No. SunShare’s Solar Services Agreement is in no way intended to be viewed as an investment.

Yes. The solar energy produced by the garden replaces that amount of fossil-fuel energy that the utility would have had to generate. By supporting the generation of local clean, renewable energy, you are reducing your reliance on fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gases, improving the world for yourself and for generations to come. Colorado community solar >>  Minnesota community solar >>