myLocal Solar FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Download the FAQs here.

 

How does community solar work? 

Community solar is a solar facility that produces more power than a single home or even a few homes can use. Participants in a community solar program can sign up to receive bill credits for the power that the solar array produces. Sizing is flexible in a community solar farm, which allows members to choose their level of interest to fit their budget. 


Who can participate? 

All members are eligible to participate, but certain rates are not able to subscribe to the program. If you already have a rooftop solar system or are subscribed to another community solar farm, you can still participate until you reach the 25 kW, or 120% of your annual energy usage, per meter cap. See the Participation Agreement for details.


What does my subscription get me? 

When you enroll in myLocal Solar, it means you are getting a portion of the output of the solar energy the local community solar farm produces.

 


What if I can't afford it?

Those who need assistance in affording solar may be qualified for the low-to-moderate income portion in the PV for All program. Income guidelines vary by county and the number of people in the household. Learn more here.

 


Do renters qualify?

Yes, anyone who pays their own electric bill to PVREA can participate in this program regardless of housing. Renters, homeowners, people who live in apartments, houses, condos, mobile homes etc. – anyone in PVREA service territory can qualify. 


 

What happens to my subscription if I move?

If you move within the PVREA service territory and are just transferring your account, your subscription will move with you. If you move to a different utility territory, you can no longer participate in the program. Your initial payment is non-refundable and non-trasnferrable and will continue to support the community project.


 

What if I am on budget billing? How does that work?

Your budget billing account is evaluated and annually and it is determined whether your budget billing amount should be higher or lower to better fit your energy use. Your solar subscription and budget billing will true up together each year. You will be notified of your true-up on your electric bill. 


 

I am a Pay As You Go prepaid account. How will my solar subscription work?

With a prepaid account, you can pay on your account anytime throughout the month. Your solar subscription credits will only post to your account once a month. You cannot use a future subscription credit to avoid disconnection. 


 

What happens with my initial payment? 

Your initial payment helps cover a portion of the startup and administration costs of the solar farm. The initial payment is non-refundable and non-transferrable.



I already have a net-metering account and/or am subscribed in the other community solar farms. Can I still subscribe to the myLocal Solar program?

Yes! As long as your  account’s existing solar generation has not reached the 25 kW, or 120% of your annual energy usage per meter cap, you can still participate. 


 

I am a small or large commercial account - can I participate?

Yes! As long as your account’s existing solar generation has not reached the 25 kW, or 120% of your annual energy usage per meter cap, you can still participate.


 

 

Why do I still have to pay the facilities charge?

The facilities charge is a monthly investment that helps your co-op cover the expenses of maintaining the overall electric system and the cost of having 24/7 electricity available at your home and/or business. Regardless of how much electricity a particular member uses or generates through a solar array, the cost of delivering power to that home or business is the same.


 

What if my subscription generates more energy than what I use? What happens with the “extra” energy?

PVREA recommends sizing your subscription to match your energy usage. Excess production is rolled over month to month until you need it. Any excess production is trued up each March and paid at the previous years’ avoided cost rate, which is lower than your retail rate. 


Avoided cost: A calculation that estimates the expense an electric utility incurs to supply or generate a certain amount of power. In practice, it refers to the price that qualifying facilities under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 are entitled to receive for excess power sold to a utility. Avoided cost is established at the price a utility would have paid for power had it not purchased from a qualifying facility. 


 

Can I opt out of the program in the future? 

Yes! myLocal Solar is a flexible option for our members. You may opt out at any time. Your initial payment, which is non-refundable and non-transferrable, will stay in the project and continue to support the community project.


 

Do I get the tax credits?

The tax credits associated with this project are rolled into your subscription pricing, which helped drive down the cost, making it affordable for members to participate. 



Who pays for operation and maintenance of the project?

Your co-op is responsible for ensuring the project produces at a high level of efficiency.  To pay for these expenses, plus insurance, taxes, and other costs, PVREA will retain 20% of the production of the project.  Unique to a larger-scale project, the panels are mounted on a single-axis tracker, meaning that the panels move each day from east to west.  This significantly increases production – likely by greater than 20%.  Thus, your panel subscription should produce as much as a typical fixed installation.  By working together to build one central installation, the community solar project produces more energy than a standard project, helping to reduce operations, maintenance and subscriptions costs.


 

Will production change over time?

Yes – Weather will impact production, not just day-to-day but also year-to-year.  But, the estimated production averages out these variations over time.  Also, the production from the project will slowly decrease over time – called degradation in the solar industry.  The project is anticipated to decline by approximately 0.5% per year. 



How can I support GRID Alternatives and community solar access for low-income members?

GRID Alternatives is a 501c(3) non-profit with a mission to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to undeserved communities.  You can learn more about donating or volunteering at www.gridalternatives.org.