What is a CSA?
It used to be true that if you wanted to go solar, you needed to own a south facing roof or piece of land without many trees around. Unfortunately, this excluded a lot of New Yorkers who wanted to go solar but lacked a great site.
NYSERDA, the NY state organization that supports renewable energy, came up with a new program to help more people go solar, regardless of what kind of site they have. It’s called Community Solar. A Community Solar project is an array of solar panels in the perfect location for your local area. It’s your local solar farm co-op. Anyone who wants to go solar can purchase panels in the Community Solar Array and use the electricity their panels produce.
The net meter at the CSA counts how much electricity is produced and sent into the electric grid. The array’s manager keeps track of this electricity and then distributes the electricity credits to each owner’s electric bill, according to how many panels they own. Because everything is counted and distributed digitally, you don’t need to run wires from the array to your home.
Purchasing panels in your local CSA gives you all the benefits of installing a solar system at your home without the construction at your own site. Because the location for the CSA is chosen to be perfect for solar, it also means your CSA panels will have optimum power output. On-site solar installations rarely get the maximum power output because the roof is likely not facing perfectly south or totally free of shade.
Solar installers all over New York are currently building Community Solar Arrays in several utility territories, including:
- Central Hudson
- National Grid
- Orange and Rockland
Just the Facts
- A new program from NYSERDA that lets everyone go solar
- Purchase as many panels as you need from your local CSA
- Watch the credits accrue on your electric bill
- Everything is tracked and recorded digitally
- Unused credits roll forward indefinitely
- No need for wires or construction at your site
- All panels in the CSA perform at their best since the site is picked for optimum performance
- Very similar to having solar panels on your own house, except your panels are installed at the Community Solar Farm instead of on your roof.
- The only thing you need to get a free and accurate quote is a copy of your electric bill.
What is a CSA?
- CSA stands for Community Solar Array. It’s your local solar farm co-op.
Who owns the CSA?
- The CSA is owned by the people who purchase the panels in the system.
- It is designed, installed, maintained, and managed by Hudson Solar
Do you need to install anything at my house?
- No. No wires or equipment is installed at your house.
- Your electricity meter keeps track of your usage at your house.
- The meter at the CSA site keeps track of how much the array has produced.
- Hudson Solar keeps track of how many credits you are due and sends them to the utility company who puts them on your account.
What if something goes wrong with the system?
- The CSA manager, Hudson Solar, will take care of all maintenance or service issues at no additional cost to the owners.
What does a CSA cost to join?
- Costs depend on how much usage each customer would like to offset.
- 30% Federal solar tax credit is available for CSA purchases making costs comparable to installing a solar system at your own site.
Who does the CSA make the most sense for?
- People who want to go solar but:
- Don’t like the look of solar panels at their property
- Don’t have a good site to install panels on because of shade or roof orientation
- Don’t own their property
- Can’t install solar due to association rules
- People who want to lock in today’s electricity rates for the next 25 years
- People who want the predictability of a steady payment instead of a fluctuating bill
- People who want to join the solar movement
I already went solar by choosing a renewable energy provider through an ESCO. How is this different?
- Community Solar is not an ESCO (Energy Service Company).
- While ESCOs do help you use renewable energy, buying into a CSA is often a lot more cost effective.
- ESCOs typically buy renewable energy on the open market and then sell it to customers at a premium rate. It does allow you to go solar, but is usually more expensive than the standard electric rate.
- With Community Solar, you are actually purchasing equipment in your local solar farm co-op and you will own that equipment’s generation. You aren’t buying energy on the open market and aren’t subject to market fluctuations and energy price increases. What you pay today is what you will pay for the 25 year life of the system, effectively locking in one rate for 25 years. This rate is usually at or below the current cost for standard electricity.
Ready to join your local CSA or have more questions? Contact us: (866) 452-7652 or CSA@HudsonSolar.com