Lima and Brockport, NY, are looking to offer residents a more efficient and streamlined community solar pilot program. Approval of a new opt-out program was received by the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS). The program is part of the Finger Lakes Community Choice program and allows both towns to register residents for community solar automatically.
According to CEO of Joule Community Power, Mike Gordon, the opt-out community solar pilot program is the first of its kind for the region. Unlike traditional community solar programs, this one creates an agreement that allows townships to enroll entire populations in community solar programs. Normally, customers would be required to sign up as individuals, which would mean paying for solar credits, dealing with two monthly bills to receive the promised credits, signing a contract, and even undergoing a soft credit check.
With DPS’ approval, the community choice aggregation (CCA) program removes all of those factors. Instead, Lima and Brockport would have a mass registration that automatically signs up customers. Individuals would not have to worry about a subscription process and would still receive the benefits expected from a community solar program.
Households that are included in the enrollment will receive credits toward their National Grid power bill. Residents that don’t wish to remain part of the program can opt-out, but will sacrifice their 10% discount in solar bill credits. National Grid will still have primary control over the local electricity, including repairs and maintenance to the CCA installation.
Opt-out community solar pilot programs like this are a significant benefit to both municipalities and solar developers. On the one hand, it allows towns to reduce their carbon footprint and provide benefits to their residents. On the other, developers are able to quickly and easily increase their overall solar portfolio and acquire customers on a much larger scale than with traditional community solar.