Understanding Your Community Solar Bill

BILLS BILLS BILLS

Many people have asked us about how billing works and why we ask for your payment information during sign up even though it doesn’t cost you any money to choose Astral Power for community solar. In this blog post, we will explain how we handle the billing process to make it an easy transition for you to get access to solar power. Want to skip to a section? Just click on the title below!
  1. Why does Astral Power ask me for my payment information?
  2. How does billing work? (For states without consolidated billing)
  3. Can we go deeper into this billing stuff?
  4. How does billing work? (For states with consolidated billing)
  5. Is there any way to simplify my community solar bill?
  6. I have more questions.

Why does Astral Power ask me for my payment information?

When you are signing up with Astral Power, we ask you for a payment account on file because billing is not yet consolidated between solar farms and utility companies. Consolidated billing will go into effect sometime late 2020 or early 2021 in New York state, learn more about this here.

How does billing work?

(For states without consolidated billing) First, thank you for joining us in going solar! Your solar subscription activates when your assigned solar farm is in service. Upon activation, you will receive two bills related to your energy charges each month:

Your standard utility bill

  1. From your utility company, like RG&E, NYSEG, National Grid, Central Hudson, Orange and Rockland, etc.
  2. Now, your monthly solar credits are applied.

Community solar bill

  1. For your monthly solar power generation.
  2. The amount you pay will always be 10% less than the cost of the month’s bill credits.

Can we go deeper into this billing stuff?

Here are some explanations and definitions regarding your new Community Distributed Generation billing arrangement with your utility:
Allocation This is the amount of the solar farm that is reserved in your name. For billing purposes, it is expressed as a percentage of the overall solar project/farm. Your share of the solar project was calculated to produce 90% of your annual electric consumption.
Generation This is the amount of solar energy that your share has produced and is expressed as a dollar value on your utility bill. The utility provides Astral Power with an Allocation Report that gives the generation in kWh and the dollar value.
CDG Generation Credits This is the value of what your solar share produced in the previous month.
Billing Period End Date This is the same as the Current Meter Read Date on your home or business’ bill.
CDG Generation Applied The amount of generation credit applied to your bill, this is the amount that you pay our solar farm developer partner for the solar power that is generated on your behalf. Your bill for the solar generation will always be 10% less than the month’s bill credits.
kWh Measurement of power over time, kilowatt (1000 watts) per hour

Solar credits will begin to appear on your utility bill sometime after the project’s first meter read. Once the credits begin appearing on your utility bill, you’ll notice a new box right above the Electricity Delivery Charges as seen below. Each month, the utility will include in your bill the following: how many credits your share of the solar farm produced, how many were applied to the current month’s bill, how many you have remaining that roll over to the next month, and how many you had leftover from previous months.

Below is a sample bill from a utility company within the New York state, NYSEG, along with some description:

Sample Community Solar bill from one of our partners, Delaware River Solar. 

How does billing work?

(For states with consolidated billing) First, thank you for joining us in going solar! Your solar subscription activates when your assigned solar farm is in service. Upon activation, you will receive a bill from your utility company, updated with your savings from Community Solar. We currently don’t have an example yet, but will update when we do get one. We expect New York state to have consolidated billing by mid 2021.

Is there any way to simplify my community solar bill?

We understand that this billing might be confusing, so here are a few tips to simplify your bills:
  • Sign up for an online account.  This will give you access to PDF copies of your most recent bill and summary page. It is also recommended that you switch to e-billing (i.e. paperless statements) this will allow you to access 12 months of PDF bills online.
  • Take a closer look at your energy service company (ESCO).  We strongly recommend checking the rate that you are paying your ESCO for supply charges.  You can find your utility’s supply rates on your utility’s website. Third Party Energy Supply companies can increase your supply rates after your agreement expires.  We recommend that you keep a close eye on this, and mark your calendar on the week this agreement is scheduled to expire.
  • Remove Budget Billing.  Your utility calculates budget billing on historical data from your previous twelve months of usage. You can keep budget billing of course, however, you won’t see the savings from joining a Community Solar Farm until the end of the year when the utility calculates your current year of consumption, the total solar credits applied, and the budgeted amount you paid over the course of the year. 

I have more questions.

That’s why we’re here! Feel free to chat with us in the lower right hand corner of our website, call us at 1-866-922-7335 to ask your question, or leave your information below and we will reach out to you.

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