Rooftop Solar vs Community Solar for Long Island + NYC
Feb 17, 2021
by EmPower Solar
Both rooftop solar systems and community solar programs provide efficient and cost-effective means to cut electricity expenses while reducing the carbon footprint of your household.
However, each solution has unique requirements and advantages based on finances, homeownership, and electric usage. We’re here to break down your options so that you can better understand the differences and benefits of each.
How does rooftop solar work?
Solar panels physically attached to your home’s roof will collect sunlight throughout the day, automatically converting it into electricity, which is then transferred through your system’s inverter for household use. Energy produced by your solar system first powers your home, with excess unused energy sent out to the electric utility’s grid, providing energy credits for you to use later.
What are the benefits of rooftop solar?
Rooftop solar presents a host of benefits, including:
- A significant reduction in or complete elimination of your electric bill from day one
- Access to federal, state, and local solar incentives and tax credits
- Decrease your dependence on fossil fuels and reduce of your carbon footprint
- The opportunity to make an investment in your property and increase the value of your home
- The ability to participate in net metering, which is when excess energy produced by your system is sent to the grid, then recorded as a credit on your bill for use during times when your system is not producing the energy you need (ex. wintertime)
What are the requirements for rooftop solar?
Your home’s average electricity usage, roof space and orientation, and shading from trees and buildings all play a factor in determining if rooftop solar is right for you. Additionally:
- You must be a homeowner
- You should have a credit score of 650 or higher
- Your roof should be in good condition and only have one layer of shingles
How does community solar work?
Community solar consists of one central solar array which is virtually connected to ten or more subscribers. The energy produced by the array is divided between subscribers and billed either by the utility or a solar project manager, depending on the individual program.
Community solar programs on Long Island and in New York City enable PSEG LI and ConEd customers to reduce their electric costs by subscribing to a solar project in their community and virtually offsetting their bill with renewable energy.
What are the benefits of community solar?
As the accessibility of community solar continues to grow, communities are drawn to it due to the appeal of:
- Immediate financial savings of 10% or more
- No upfront cost
- No financing or leasing agreements
- Pay-as-you-go options with easy cancellation clauses
- The ability to benefit from clean energy without needing to install solar panels on their roofs
- Supporting our local economy while promoting the health of our communities and planet
Who can participate in community solar?
Any electric utility customer can participate in community solar. Subscribers are often those who can’t install solar panels on their own property for a variety of reasons, including:
- Living in rented homes or apartments
- Credit or income limitations
- No roof space or shaded roof space
- Older roof or incompatible roofing material
- Condo/co-op board restrictions
- Municipal zoning codes prohibitive of solar
So which one should I choose?
If you have the ability to go solar at your own property, we suggest exploring that route first, due to greater savings potential. However, if any of the above factors prevent you from putting solar on your own roof, or you simply prefer not to, a community solar subscription is an easy way to save on electric bills and reduce your carbon footprint with little to no effort.
How can I learn more about community solar projects near me?
Since installing the first community solar project on Long Island in 2017, we have continued to partner with local businesses to help our communities access clean, renewable energy and save on their electric bills. Our website is kept up to date with a list of open projects, or you can join our waitlist for future projects.
Ready to make the switch?
Whether you’re interested in rooftop solar or community solar, we’re to help guide you through the process of transitioning to clean, renewable energy. Contact us today!