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What Your Utility Company Doesn’t Want You to Know

Today, electricity is a common comfort. It’s something most homeowners and renters typically don’t give a second thought. But are utility companies being completely transparent with their customers? Often, there's a shroud of mystery around electricity that utilities want to keep.

Here’s what your utility company doesn’t want you to know:

Renewable Energy Payments (REPs) are incentives for homeowners, farmers, businesses, etc., to become producers of renewable energy, or to increase their production of renewable energy. Not only do REPs level the playing field, but they’re also an investment in clean, sustainable technologies that have already created hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Basically, this makes the deployment of renewable energy a more secure long-term investment since the government guarantees renewable energy producers a connection to the electric grid and a payment rate above market price. REPs will create long-lasting change in the energy sector as the large-scale deployment of renewable energy systems brings production costs down and allows renewable energy to become competitive with fossil fuels.

Renewable energy is picking up speed as communities seek alternatives to conventional energy sources. The U.S. Department of Energy defines community solar as any solar project or purchasing program, within a geographic area, in which the benefits of a solar project flow to multiple customers such as individuals, businesses, nonprofits, etc. Similarly to REPs, customers can benefit from energy generated by solar panels.

Community solar is a great option for homeowners or renters who are unable to install solar panels on their roof. If someone doesn’t own their home or have sufficient solar resources or roof conditions to support a rooftop solar solution, community solar allows them to reap similar benefits. Just like someone with rooftop solar, someone utilizing community solar will receive an electric bill credit for electricity generated by their share of the community solar system. There are two primary benefits of community solar. It makes it possible for more people to access solar power, and participants in community solar projects save on their electricity bills every month as well as receive certain tax credits.

The most common formats for community solar projects are ownership and subscription. An ownership model allows customers to purchase several panels or a portion of the project, meaning they’ll get the electric bill credit/savings from the power produced by the solar panels you own. A subscription model allows customers to subscribe and pay a lower price on their electric bill each month. Rather than purchasing and owning solar panels or a portion of the project, they’re simply purchasing electricity at a lower rate.

REPs and community solar are both viable options for homeowners to reduce electricity costs while utilizing a renewable energy option.

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