Before You Get Started

Whether you're at the very early stages of your process and looking for tips on what to do before getting started, researching membership options, or need to know what questions to ask before signing up, we offer resources to make your individual solar process easier.

Before You Get Started

  1. Do your research. There are different options for community solar, including buying panels upfront or paying for electricity as you go. Online reviews and customer references are excellent resources for getting background information on the company that manages the project. You should also verify if your community solar provider is registered on the New York State Department of Public Service list of Distributed Energy ResourcesLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..
  2. Learn how you can save. The first step is to find out what you are currently paying for electricity. The amount you'll save is dependent on the type of project you choose and your personal financial situation. For example, with a pay-as-you-go arrangement, you will want to understand what the cost savings will be for the term of the contract. Do the costs increase over time, and how does that compare to current cost increases? With a purchase arrangement, you will want to understand your return on investment, and know which tax credits are available to you.
  3. Know your contract inside and out. From the length of your contract, to early cancellation policies and late fees, your contract will have a lot of terms for you to consider. It's important to understand exactly what you're committing to. And, like any other investment (such as buying a car or an insurance policy), be sure to make a list of the questions you need answered before you sign a contract; and consult your personal lawyer or accountant to better understand your contract.

Membership Types

Every project is different, and solar developers determine which plans are available. There are two basic options typically offered: subscription and purchase plans. Learn more about subscription and purchase plans.

Questions to Ask Before You Sign Up

Contracts and Agreements

  • What membership or payment options are available to me?
  • How long is the agreement term, and what happens if I move?
  • What are my options at the end of the agreement?
  • Can I change my share of the solar project in the middle of my agreement?
  • Is there a financial penalty if I end the agreement early?

Money and Financing

  • Is a payment or deposit required to hold my spot?
  • What will it cost me on a monthly or annual basis, and how do you determine that cost?
  • Are there any additional fees?
  • Are there any credits, rebates, or incentives available?
  • How much money do you estimate I can save over the whole term?
  • What financing options are available if I purchase the panels?

Power Generation

  • Will I be able to monitor how much electricity my panels generate?
  • Do you guarantee the amount of electricity generated by my panels? If so, what happens if that amount is not reached?
  • Who is responsible for the maintenance and care of the community solar project? What if there are issues, how are they resolved?