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Community Solar FAQ - Neighborhood Power
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Oregon Community Solar Program
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sign up?

Sign up here. It takes 3 minutes. Have a recent electric bill handy.

How much I will save?

Check out the calculator here to estimate your savings and environmental benefits.

What are the key benefits?

Community solar farms allow all people to receive the benefits of solar power without installing solar panels on your property.  You also reduce your electric bill annually by 0-20% for up to 20 years and can even transfer it to a new home or apartment when you move. Your participation also supports more renewable energy, local jobs, and clean air in our communities.

How does a community solar farm work?

Community solar power is generated from a central solar farm near you and shared by multiple participants. Participants lease a portion of the farm. The energy generated from your portion of the farm is allocated to your PGE account each month.

What if the solar farm is not producing power? Will I still get power to my home?

Yes. Any time the solar farm is not producing power, you will receive regular PGE power automatically with no interruption. This includes power at night, winter months when snow covers the solar panels, annual maintenance, or any other time the solar farm is not producing power.

Will participating in a solar farm affect my electric service?

No. participation in a community solar farm does not affect your service from PGE.  You will continue to receive normal uninterrupted service from PGE. Each month Neighborhood Power sends the solar electricity to PGE who then allocates it to your home or business account.

I rent an apartment/condo/townhome, can I still participate?

Yes. Community solar farms are for everyone. Renters and homeowners alike.

How can you just reduce my electric bill? What’s the catch?

The Oregon Legislature set up the Oregon Community Solar Program to help bring more renewable energy to Oregon and allow all people to enjoy the benefits of solar energy without installing solar panels on your property. This state program is paid for already by you, and all PGE customers, through a surcharge on your monthly bill—see line 136 on your PGE bill as the Community Solar Cost Recovery surcharge. Only those people who join a community solar farm will get the benefits from this state sponsored program. Since you are already paying for it, why not join! 😉

Is this a legitimate Oregon program?

Yes. The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Community Solar Program as a state program overseen by the Oregon Public Utility Commission. If you have questions about the Program, you can call (800) 481-0510 or contact Community Solar Program at email info@oregoncsp.org

How does Neighborhood Power make money off this?

Neighborhood Power receives the subscription fees to pay for the cost to build, operate and maintain the solar farm.  Neighborhood Power is a registered Project Manager under the Oregon Community Solar Program and operates and maintains several solar farms.

Who do I pay every month?

You continue to pay your monthly PGE electric bill. There is no separate bill.  Participants purchase solar energy and receive bill credits on your existing monthly PGE bill and account.

What if there is an overall blackout? Will my home still get solar power?

No. The solar farm uses the PGE grid to transfer power from the solar farm to your home, so if the grid goes down, power to your home will go down too.

What if I move to a new home or apartment?

You can transfer your participation in the community solar farm and continue your savings, to any new home or apartment for free, so long as it is within PGE’s service area.

What happens if I need to cancel?

If you move out of the area or need to cancel for any reason, you can do so by providing 90-day notice and you will revert to regular PGE service and rates. There is no fee to cancel anytime.

Can I adjust the solar energy allocation I get?

Yes. You may request a re-sizing of your allocation in the solar farm. For example, you may want to adjust your allocation if you buy an electric car or move to a larger or smaller home and increase or decrease your electric consumption. There is no cost to re-size up or down; however, there may not be available capacity to increase your allocation in the farm; therefore, you will be put on a waitlist and your allocation will be adjusted when capacity becomes available.

What should I do if I am already on green power?

PGE has both green power and community solar. You can do both at the same time. With your current green power, you pay a little extra to help support and build more sources of renewable energy such as wind, solar or hydro. With your community solar farm participation, you pay a little less for solar energy directly allocated to your home. You could opt out of the green power to lower your bill, or you can continue with your green power plan and participate in the community solar farm simultaneously.

How do I know I am getting solar energy?

You will see the Community Solar Program section at the bottom of page 2 of your electric bill. Each month, the kilowatt hours generated by the solar farm that are allocated to your account will appear there.  You will also see a note on page 1 of your bill thanking you for participating in community solar. This note appearing on your bill confirms you are registered in the program.

What percentage of my energy use is solar?

The percentage of your energy from solar will vary month to month, depending on your own energy consumption such as how often you use electric appliances in your home, whether you are gone on vacation, how many people are in your household, and other personal factors. In addition, the farm’s solar energy production will vary month to month based upon weather and sunlight availability.

If I join the solar farm, do I get Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)?

Yes. The RECs associated with your participation in the solar farm are yours. You may sell, transfer or retire them—if you register them with an official broker. The RECs allow you to lawfully claim your home or business is powered by solar energy and allows you to make advertising and marketing claims about the use of solar energy in your operations, products and sustainability goals.

Do the subscription fees or bill credits change over time?

No. Both the solar subscription fees and PGE bill credit rates are fixed for 20 years; however, the Oregon Public Utility Commission can adjust the program administration fee annually. This fee is typically $2-5 per month for residential participants and up to $30 per month for small businesses. It covers the cost to administer the Program. Some low-income participants are exempt from this fee.

How do the savings work?

Both your bill credits and solar subscription fees for your solar energy are fixed for 20 years. Since your bill credits are higher than your solar subscription fees, you save money every year. The savings vary month to month, but typical participants save 0-20% annually.

How is my electric bill affected?

Your solar energy purchases and bill credits will appear on page 2 of your PGE bill.

  1. On page 1 of your electric bill, you will see ‘Additional Charges/Credits’ in the upper right area. Anything with a ‘CR’ next to it means ‘Credit’ and reduces your total bill.
  2. On page 2 of your electric bill, you will see a new section called Community Solar Program and the following items:
    • Subscription Fee = the cost of solar energy you purchased for the prior month from the solar farm. The fee is fixed at 114 cents per kWh for up to 20 years and is multiplied by your portion of kWh generated by the solar farm each month.
    • Total Administration Fees = a monthly fee set by the Public Utility Commission that covers the cost of administering the Community Solar Program. Typically, $1-5 per month for residential participants and up to $30 for small business participants. Some low-income participants are exempt from this fee.
    • Generation Credit = bill credits applied to your bill by PGE for participating in the Program. The bill credit rate is fixed at 234 cents per kWh for up to 20 years and is multiplied by your portion of kWh generated by the solar farm each month.