Subscription Types
The subscription type is how you pay for your community solar. Most are pay-as-you-go, but sometimes pre-pay options are available. Your subscription then allows you to receive a bill credit on your electric bill. So long as your total bill credits are more than your total subscription costs over the life of the subscriber agreement, you’ll save money.
Evaluating Savings
Estimated Savings
When you receive your quotes, each will have an estimated savings, which is an estimate of the total amount you will save over the life of your community solar agreement. Because the bill credit rate is tied to electricity rates in the future, you won’t know exactly much you’ll save in advance. Our estimates of future bill credits rates are based on historic trends in electricity prices.
Savings Certainty
You may not have a guarantee that you’ll save money with community solar. As electricity from the utility gets more expensive, the bill credit rate goes up. Community solar providers, when setting the subscription price, proceed so you will save money if the bill credit increases like it has in the past. For some subscription types, if the bill credit increases much slower than anticipated, you might pay more for your subscription than you receive in bill credits. Savings certainty is a measure of how likely it is you’ll save money with community solar.
Residential
Almost all residential subscription agreements are Increasing Price, a type of pay-as-you-go. Occasionally a pre-pay option is available.
RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS:
The most common subscription type.
  • In the pay-as-you-go "Increasing Price" subscription type, the amount you pay for the solar electricity -- your subscription rate -- starts at an initial rate in year 1, and increases by a small percentage every year.
  • Your savings is the difference between the utility bill credit rate and your subscription rate. Because the bill credit rate is tied to electricity rates in the future, you won’t know exactly much you’ll save in advance.
Increasing price low Increasing price historic Increasing price high
Bill Credit Increase: Very High | At Historic Rate | Very Low
About Bill Credit Rates
About Bill Credit Rates
You will know what your bill credit rate is when you sign up for community solar, but not what it will be in the future because bill credit rates are usually tied to electric rates. The bill credit rate will likely increase over time because electric rates generally increase over time.
As part of the estimated savings in your quotes, we’ll provide you with an assumption for future bill credit rate increases. The assumed bill credit rate increase is not a guarantee, and may be higher or lower in a given year (or even decline a little in a given year). We also enable you to make your own assumptions when you analyze your quote.
Can I Lose Money?
Can I Lose Money?
Possibly.
It is possible that the bill credit rate will increase slowly enough that you could eventually lose money in a given year, or even lose money overall.
To evaluate the likelihood of losing money, we’ll help you compare the historic rate at which electric rates (and hence bill credits) have increased over time compared to how your subscription rate increases.
No ongoing payments; similar to buying your own panels.
  • In the pre-pay model of community solar, you pay a lump sum upfront and then make zero or small ongoing payments.
  • While it requires a significant upfront payment, your savings over many years are often higher than pay-as-you-go subscription types like the “Increasing Price” model.
Prepay low Prepay historic Prepay high
Bill Credit Increase: Very High | At Historic Rate | Very Low
About Bill Credit Rates
About Bill Credit Rates
You will know what your bill credit rate is when you sign up for community solar, but not what it will be in the future because bill credit rates are usually tied to electric rates. The bill credit rate will likely increase over time because electric rates generally increase over time.
As part of the estimated savings in your quotes, we’ll provide you with an assumption for future bill credit rate increases. The assumed bill credit rate increase is not a guarantee, and may be higher or lower in a given year (or even decline a little in a given year). We also enable you to make your own assumptions when you analyze your quote.
Can I Lose Money?
Can I Lose Money?
Possibly.
By paying upfront, there is usually the opportunity for the greatest lifetime savings if the installation performs as expected. However, if the total value of the electric bill credits you receive over time are not more than what you paid upfront for your subscription, you will lose money. There are two main ways this could happen:
  • Poor Performance If the installation fails or is unable to deliver the amount of electricity promised (for example, if the provider goes bankrupt), then you will lose money if your total bill credits up to the point of failure do not exceed what you paid upfront for your subscription.
  • Slow Bill Credit Increase If the bill credit rates are lower than expected as a result of electric costs decreasing, or not increasing as fast as expected, it is possible that the total value of the bill credits you receive over time will not exceed what you paid upfront for your subscription.
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