Frequently Asked Questions
What is Community Solar?
Community Solar, or Community Distributed Generation (CDG), is a program established by the NY Public Service Commission (PSC) to allow broader access to renewable energy. Independent developers build community-scale renewable energy systems and sell subscriptions to eligible customers in the area.
Subscribers are allotted a share of the project, and support solar generation without owning or installing equipment. Subscribers enjoy the same benefits as those with solar on their roof.
How does it work?
You’re awarded solar credits for the energy generated by your share of the solar farm. As a Community Solar subscriber, you'll continue to receive your electricity bill from Central Hudson, but your total cost will be lower because the community solar subscription provides a guaranteed discount. You’ll get two bills each month (one from Central Hudson and one from the solar farm) that will add up to less than you pay now.
How is my discount guaranteed?
You'll receive 10% off your electric bill for the amount of solar power allocated to you by the solar farm. Central Hudson will apply monetary credits to your bill for the full value of solar energy associated with your subscription—both supply and delivery charges.
The solar farm then bills you for 90% of the amount already taken off your electric bill. It’s not a competing rate; rather, it’s an opportunity to save 10% of your electricity costs by supporting a NY solar farm.
What is a solar credit?
Solar credits make it possible to enjoy the benefits of clean power without having to own or install equipment on your home or property.
By enrolling in a Community Solar project, you're supporting renewable energy generation. In turn, you receive solar credits for your allocation of the energy generated that is fed into the grid to be distributed by Central Hudson.
The credits are monetary discounts on your electric bill, and are deducted from your Central Hudson bill each month.
How is my solar allocation determined?
When you enroll, your solar allocation will be sized to match your typical electricity usage. So, while you’re receiving a guaranteed 10% discount on only the portion of solar you’ve been allocated, your allocation should roughly equate to your annual usage.
What happens if I don’t use enough electricity to cover my solar credits?
Often, community solar subscribers don’t use much power in months when the solar farm is very productive (e.g., a subscriber vacations away from home during summer). In this case, you’d be credited (for your share of what’s generated) more than you’d be charged (for your electricity usage). Any excess credits will carry over to successive bills for up to a year.
While it’s possible to have months of no payment, it’s highly unlikely that you’d end up with a large amount of unused credits. The system is predictable enough to fairly closely match subscribers with the right number of credits.
Am I guaranteed a lower rate for a specified period of time?
You may subscribe for as long as you like, but are under no obligation to participate for any length of time and there are no cancellation charges. Once you cancel, however, there’s no guarantee of an opportunity to re-enroll at a later date.
Is there a penalty for canceling my subscription?
No. There are no penalties or termination fees. Should you choose to leave the program, please allow 60 days for the subscription to be removed from your Central Hudson account.
Where is the energy generated?
Solar panels are installed at a site ("solar farm,“ or "solar garden,“) close to where we live and work, often on undeveloped or unused agricultural land, brownfields (like landfills), and large rooftops. No solar panels are installed at individual homes or businesses.
Can I enroll my business account(s)?
Yes, any residential or small commercial Central Hudson customer is eligible for the 10% discount. Larger commercial customers are eligible as well, though credit values and savings are calculated differently for larger users.
I receive my electricity from an energy service company (“ESCO,” e.g. Direct Energy). Am I still eligible to enroll in Community Solar?
Yes, the solar bill credits offset the cost of your whole bill—supply and delivery—regardless of your supplier. The solar energy is fed into the grid, replacing energy the utility would have otherwise purchased. While the value of the credits is calculated against utility retail rates (which are not the same as ESCO supply rates), ESCO customers still get the same monetary benefit (i.e. dollar value) they’d receive if they purchased their electricity supply from Central Hudson.