FAQs

Community Solar – Frequently Asked Questions

What is Austin Energy Community Solar?

Austin Energy’s Community Solar program provides access to locally-generated solar energy to our residential customers. Community Solar extends access to customers who haven't traditionally been able to install solar at their own home.

Who is eligible to subscribe?

Any residential customer who wants to promote clean, local energy can opt-in (and out) at any time.

This option appeals to renters as well as homeowners who:

  • have shaded roofs,
  • don’t want to pay the upfront cost of solar,
  • don’t want to install and maintain a rooftop solar system,
  • don’t intend to own the residence for the lifetime of a rooftop solar system.

How does Community Solar work?

Under the Austin Energy Community Solar program, participants subscribe to meet 100% of their electricity needs with Community Solar generated by local solar systems and pay a Community Solar rate on their bill in place of the traditional Power Supply Adjustment rate.

When you subscribe to Community Solar, Austin Energy procures energy to meet your needs from solar systems located within the Austin community. This solar energy enters Austin’s electric system daily and reduces the amount of energy needed from fossil-fuel-based power plants. 

If the program is fully subscribed at the time of enrollment, interested customers will be placed on a waiting list until additional local solar capacity is added to the program. Austin Energy will add new capacity as the demand for local community solar energy increases.

Where does Community Solar energy come from?

Austin Energy's Community Solar program currently has two project sites:

  • The Palmer Array (185 kW), located atop the Palmer Events Center on Barton Springs Road, between South First and Lamar Boulevard
  • La Loma (formerly Kingsbery, 2.6 MW) community solar farm, located northeast of Springdale Road and Airport Boulevard

If I subscribe, will my home receive electricity generated from Community Solar projects?

Austin Energy will procure enough local solar to meet all of the electric use of Community Solar subscribers. Electricity generated at our Community Solar sites is not directed to a specific home. 

Instead, Community Solar energy is generated locally and connected to the grid. It directly reduces the amount of fossil-fuel-based energy that Austin Energy needs to buy from the ERCOT market to serve our customers. 

How will subscribing to Community Solar affect my bill?

Residential subscribers to Community Solar will see a Community Solar rate instead of a Power Supply Adjustment rate on their monthly electricity bill. 

The Community Solar rate is $0.0427 as compared to the Power Supply Adjustment rate of $0.02895. The average customer can expect to see a bill increase of about $14 per month (based on an average electricity usage of 1,000 kWh per month).

The Community Solar rate is fixed for 15 years. This is different from the Power Supply Adjustment, which is adjusted annually based on the cost of electricity from the Texas energy market. This fixed rate creates an opportunity for Community Solar subscribers to save money if the Power Supply Adjustment rises above $0.0427/kWh.

Eligible City of Austin Customer Assistance Program (CAP) customers can receive a reduced rate for community solar of $0.0277 while capacity is available. 

Can I cancel my subscription?

Yes. You can cancel your subscription at any time with no penalty; but, you must wait 12 months before you can re-subscribe. If Community Solar capacity is not available when you re-subscribe, you will be placed on a waitlist. Subscriptions are not transferable from customer to customer.

If I move, can I continue to subscribe to Austin Energy Community Solar?

Yes. Your Community Solar subscription can go where you go anywhere within the Austin Energy service territory. When transferring your account to a new address, simply ask to retain your subscription to Community Solar.

If I subscribe to Community Solar can I also subscribe to GreenChoice Renewable Wind Energy?

No. You must choose between either Community Solar or GreenChoice. Community Solar program participants receive 100% local solar power, and GreenChoice participants receive 100% Texas wind power.

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Ready to Subscribe? Enroll in Community Solar.

Community Solar Is Green-e® Energy Certified

 

Community Solar is Green-e Energy certified and meets the environmental and consumer-protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions. Learn more at www.green-e.org.

For more information on Green-e Energy certification requirements, call 1-888-63-GREEN or visit the Green-e Energy website.

Last Updated: 9/4/18

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