AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB)–If you have ever thought about installing solar panels on your roof, but the cost was just too much the State of New York is now offering a program that offers the benefits of solar without the panels, or even owning your home.
It’s called “Community Solar” and officials say customers can save as much as 10 percent on their electric bills. Since the savings is accomplished through billing, homeownership is not necessary.
Electric utility customers can sign up for the Community Solar program through non-utility companies called Distributed Energy Resource (DER) providers who link the individual electric customers directly to the companies that operate solar farms.
Gary Marchiori is president of EnergyMark, based in Amherst, which is a DER provider, and he said a residential customer can get in on the savings within two months, “They sign up for service and within 60 days of the sign-up they should see credits appear on their local utility bill.”
A solar farm, or farms, in the area supply the power to the electric “grid”–just as a traditional power generator does.
The electricity is then transmitted to the local utility which then distributes the power to the customer who gets the bill and there is a credit for the solar which Marchiori said can amount to as much as 10 percent of the bill.
“If the value of the credit which is determined monthly is ten cents, you are going to receive a one cent credit per kilowatt hour. So it is roughly 10-percent off your entire electric bill.”
Marchiori points out New York power customers are already paying for the infrastructure to facilitate the Community Solar program in our utility bills. Now we can start to reap the benefits.
Right now New York only generates about 5% of its power needs from renewable sources. Marchiori said the goal is 70% in 10 years.