Community Solar FAQs

FAQs

Community Solar – General

How big is a community solar farm?

Community Solar farms can range in size and energy produced. It depends on the utility rules and regulations in your state. For example, a Community Solar farm in Massachusetts can be up to 2 megawatts (MW) covering about 10 acres. This translates to enough solar energy to power about 400 single-family homes. Some states allow for even bigger farms.

How much energy should I purchase?

We’ll analyze your electric bill to determine your energy usage and how much solar power you’ll need annually.

Take an average home, which runs on about 11,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. To meet your electricity needs if you’re a homeowner, you would need a community solar share from roughly 6 to 10 kilowatts (kW), which would generate from 7,000-11,000 kWh annually. If you’re an apartment dweller, you would need a slightly smaller share.

If your consumption changes, we are able to adjust your subscription size up or down in six months. Our team predicts what you will use based on your last year’s consumption, and if necessary, we can purposefully size you lower if you are worried about having too much production to match your consumption in the coming months. We will have a much better assessment of your usage six months from now as well and will be sure to adjust accordingly.

What is virtual net metering, and why does it matter to me?

Let’s start with how net metering works. If you install solar panels on your roof, and they produce more energy than you use in a month, that unused energy flows back into the electrical grid. Your utility would then pay you back for this excess energy, most often in the form of credits on your utility bill.

Virtual net metering works roughly the same way. But instead of tracking the energy produced by solar panels on your rooftop, your utility tracks your share of the energy produced by your community solar farm, and then applies credits to your bill.

How long will my Community Solar Share last?

Your BlueWave Community Solar Share agreement guarantees you 10% savings on your solar credits for 20 years, but you can always transfer it to a qualifying replacement customer.

How do I know if community solar is available in my area?

Click here to see if community solar is available near you—so you can share in the savings.

How much energy should I purchase?

We’ll analyze your electric bill to determine your energy usage and how much solar power you’ll need annually.

Take an average home, which runs on about 11,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. To meet your electricity needs if you’re a homeowner, you would need a Community Solar share from roughly 6 to 10 kilowatts (kW), which would generate from 7,000-11,000 kWh annually. If you’re an apartment dweller, you would need a slightly smaller share.

If your consumption changes, we are able to adjust your subscription size up or down in six months. Our team predicts what you will use based on your last year’s consumption, and if necessary, we can purposefully size you lower if you are worried about having too much production to match your consumption in the coming months. We will have a much better assessment of your usage six months from now as well and will be sure to adjust accordingly.

What is virtual net metering, and why does it matter to me?

Let’s start with how net metering works. If you install solar panels on your roof, and they produce more energy than you use in a month, that unused energy flows back into the electrical grid. Your utility would then pay you back for this excess energy, most often in the form of credits on your utility bill.

Virtual net metering works roughly the same way. But instead of tracking the energy produced by solar panels on your rooftop, your utility tracks your share of the energy produced by your Community Solar farm and then applies credits to your bill.

Your BlueWave Community Solar Share agreement guarantees you 10% savings on your solar credits for 20 years.

Why is Community Solar a good option for me and the environment?

There are many choices to consider for how you get your energy:

One option is to do nothing, and you will continue to receive the same power, primarily generated by fossil fuels.

Another option is to put solar on your roof. If you have a roof fit for solar – great! We can connect you with a solar installer in our Preferred Installer Network and help you finance the installation with our Home Solar Loan. Most homes don’t have the right roof for solar due to roof shading, bad roof orientation, or because they live in an apartment.

Our favorite option for going solar is to sign up for a BlueWave Community Solar Share – It’s the easiest way to go solar, with a guaranteed 10% savings on the solar net metering credits that you receive on your utility bill. You won’t have to worry about maintaining solar panels, but still get all the benefits of solar.

How much will I save with Community Solar?

Here’s how your savings work:

When your Community Solar Share is generating energy, your utility provider credits your monthly bill for the amount your Share generated. BlueWave gives you a 10% discount on the credits allocated to your bill, so you always receive a 10% discount on your Community Solar Share’s production!

In the summer months, your Community Solar Share is generating a lot of electricity – and a lot of Net Metering Credits on your utility bill. In the winter months, system production decreases and the Net Metering Credits you’ve accumulated in the summer months will help towards lowering your utility bill in the winter. For this reason, your BlueWave summer bills will be higher than your winter bills.

How do I know if Community Solar is available in my area?

Click here to see if Community Solar is available near you—so you can share in the savings.

Community Solar – Accounts & Billing

How do I pay my BlueWave bill?

You can pay your BlueWave bill online on your BlueWave Member Portalby paper check, or by phone.

Your BlueWave bill will be delivered to you electronically and will be sent by mail around the 15th of each month. If you select the Auto-payment option, your BlueWave balance will be automatically paid from your preferred payment method each month. If you select a manual payment option, you will be able to pay your bill online via the BlueWave Member Portal.

Inside your BlueWave Member Portal, you can view your account balance and pay your bill—all of which will be saved inside the portal.

How do I pay my BlueWave bill online?

Once you sign your Community Solar Share Agreement, we’ll send you instructions on how to set up your BlueWave Member Portal. Inside your portal, you’ll be able to select your preferred billing method and enter your payment account details.

Currently, your payment options include:

  • Credit Card (3% fee)
  • Auto Credit Card (3%)
  • Auto ACH
  • Manual ACH

What if I have to pay by paper check?

Paying your bill on your portal is the easiest way to pay your bill and we are always available to walk you through how to use your portal. Paying by check is more complicated because your residential property and/or your business property may be receiving credits from more than one BlueWave Community Solar project. This means you have multiple Community Solar Shares. If you have multiple Community Solar Shares, and you would like to pay by paper check, you will need to make separate check payments for each of those Shares. You can think of each Community Solar project as its own individual that needs to receive its own individual payment.

Your BlueWave paper bill will indicate:

  • -What amount you must put on each check
  • -What Community Solar project you must write the check to

Why do I have to send multiple payments in when paying by check?

Each solar project is operated by a different project entity, and while BlueWave manages each project entity, technically each entity handles finances separately and requires payments to be sent directly to them.

It’s important to note that electronic payments made through our portal are automatically split and routed to the proper account, so you don’t have to worry about split payments.

How is my bill calculated?

BlueWave calculates your bill by determining the amount of electricity your Solar Share generated each month (in kWh’s) and multiplying that kWh total by the Solar Net Metering Credit rate determined by your utility provider. Then we apply a 10% discount to that price and that’s the amount you see on your bill.

What will my bill look like?

Your utility bill: When your Community Solar farm starts producing electricity, you’ll start to receive two energy bills—one from us and one from your utility with a dollar-for-dollar credit for your share of the solar farm’s power. In essence: If you normally pay 10 cents per kWh for electricity from your utility, you will receive a credit of 10 cents for each kWh of solar produced. This will show up as a transfer credit on your utility bill that is a negative amount and will offset some or all of your usage—in other words, you may owe a nice $0.00 to your utility. Keep in mind that you’ll likely see a surplus of credits in the summer (when there’s more sunlight to go around) and fewer credits in the winter.

BlueWave bill: You will then be billed for your Share of energy from the Community Solar farm. Combined, your utility bill credit and your BlueWave Community Solar Share bill will be less than you’re currently paying for electricity. Here’s what your BlueWave bill will look like.

When do I see credits on my utility bill?

Credits will start to appear on your utility bill after your Community Solar farm starts producing electricity. We will start to bill you a month after you see credits on your utility bill. Please compare your BlueWave Community Solar bill to your utility bill from the previous month. This is what credits will look like on your Eversource utility bill. This is what credits will look like on your National Grid utility bill.

Why is the amount in this bill different from what’s in my portal?

Your portal will always reflect your latest Community Solar balance and your most recent payments that have been processed. Paper and e-bills will show your account balance and payment status as of the date sent. If a payment is processed or a charged is applied before you receive your next bill, there may be a difference between the bill in your hand and your account online. Your portal account is always accurate and up to date, so please refer it for the most accurate information.

It depends on the utility, but it typically takes 1 to 2 billing cycles/months after your shared solar system has started producing credits for the credits to start appearing your utility bill. If your shared solar system is not already getting credits, BlueWave will send you an email notification when it starts operating.

You can always check to see if “Transfer Charges” have started to appear on your utility bill under the “Other Charges/ Adjustments” section, which is usually on the second page.  You will then get a bill from BlueWave for those credits about a month from the time the credits show up on your utility bill.

I can’t log into my portal, how do I get help?

You should have received an email from BlueWave to set up an account on the BlueWave member portal. If you have set up your account, you can go to  “Login” at the top right of our website, then go to “Community Solar Member Portal,”  click “Login,” and enter email and password. If you have not set up your online account yet, you can also follow the same directions as above, but click “Click here to set up your Account.  If you don’t remember your login information, click the link “Click here to set up your Account or reset your password” on the login page.

What happens if I move?

If you are moving but staying within the same utility load zone, we will try to transfer your Community Solar share to your new address. In order to do this, we need to receive written notice from you. This process will take up to 6 months, as it takes time to work with your utility to change the account that your BlueWave net metering credits are applied to. You will still be responsible for any net metering credits applied to your account due to this delay.

If you are moving outside of your current utility load zone, you will have to go through the Early Termination Process. Please call or email our Customer Care team for more information on Early Termination.

What happens to my Community Solar Share rate if utility rates change?

If electricity rates increase, the value of your Community Solar Share net metering credits will also increase and your 10% discount will stay constant. If electricity prices decrease, the value of your solar net metering credits will decrease as well, but since your 10% discount is constant, you’ll always be paying less than the solar net metering credit amount that appears on your utility bill.

Do I have to pay anything upfront for a BlueWave Community Solar Share?

No, there are no upfront fees You pay for the energy your Community Solar Share generates on a monthly basis – just like your utility bill, but 10% less expensive.

 

You can always email customercare@bluewavesolar.com or call (844) SUN-4100. We are happy to answer any questions you have!