What If My Energy Usage Changes After I Join a Community Solar Program?


What If My Energy Usage Changes After I Join a Community Solar Program?

October 1, 2018

Many people are initially concerned about getting just the right amount of community solar to offset their energy usage. So, what if you do need to use more electricity? Less? Will that affect your savings? Let’s break it down.

Regardless of what you’re signing up for, opting into a contract can be a difficult decision. Life always brings change: your family may grow, your children may head off to college, or you may want to remodel your home or install new efficiency upgrades. These developments can all affect your energy usage to some degree–so it makes sense that they would be on your mind when you’re deciding to enroll in a community solar garden.

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Set Your Mind At Ease–Solstice Can Take Care of Your Community Solar Share

There are two reasons why you won’t have to worry when your community solar subscription is managed by Solstice.

  1. Most of the time, your energy usage won’t change enough to make a noticeable difference.
  2. If a change in electricity usage makes reallocation necessary, it won’t require any extra legwork on your part. We’ve got you covered.

Good news is always nice to hear, but it’s even better when you understand the reasoning behind it. Here’s why adjustments to your solar allocation are simple and routine.



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Will a Change In Energy Usage Affect My Community Solar Savings?

The brief, honest answer: it could. But not by much. At most, a large energy use shift may cause you to miss out on a few dollars in savings. The vast majority of your utility savings aren’t going anywhere (except to your pocket, like always). People who come to us with this question are usually wondering about one of two things. Either they expect their energy use to increase, meaning that they wouldn’t get enough credits to cover their entire electricity bill, or they expect their energy use to decrease, giving them more credits than they need.

However, many of the changes people think will alter their energy use end up having a minimal impact. While bills will vary on a monthly basis, major changes to a household’s total annual usage are rare unless there is a major new introduction or removal, such as an appliance or a swimming pool.

That’s why we base your portion of the shared solar garden on your historical utility usage. Since your bill credits will roll over from month to month, this strategy accounts for natural seasonal variations and allows us to get as close as possible to covering your entire utility bill with solar credits.

As a result, most of the people who think they will need to change their allocation don’t end up needing to. Still, for people planning big changes to their energy use, we’re happy to share how we go about managing allocations.

Community Solar Allocations Should Be Automatically Updated

There will always be a member of your community solar project team that will be assigned to managing and updating allocations. The best way for them to do this is by automatically updating these allocations on a periodic basis to make sure they are adjusted to fit any changes to your energy usage.

In other words, you should never have to worry about whether or not your allocation is the right size–your provider should take care of all of that for you. If Solstice is managing the subscriptions for your project, that’s what will happen. If you’re concerned about your allocation, though, you should always feel free to reach out to make sure you’ve got the proper share of solar panels.

Sometimes utility policies make it impossible for us to adjust your allocation immediately. In New York, for example, you have the opportunity to adjust your allocation every 30 days. In Massachusetts, it’s twice a year.

No matter where you are, we will adjust your share to make sure your credits come as close as possible to zeroing out your yearly utility bill–and since credits roll over from month to month, that can include adjusting your allocation to compensate for any overallocation. If you’re considering making any major changes, it can’t hurt to get in touch so we can help you plan.  


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Should I Worry About My Community Solar Allocation?

No! Thinking about putting a pool in the backyard? Go for it! Considering new insulating, energy efficient windows? Heck, we encourage it! Joining a community solar program shouldn’t be difficult, and neither should adjusting your allocation as your needs evolve. Whether you’re planning a new project or simply aren’t sure what the future holds, you should always feel free to share your plans and concerns with us–we’re happy to plan with you and ensure that everything’s in place to cover your energy bill with credits.

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