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Community Distributed Generation

Thinking of going solar, but don’t want to put solar panels on your roof?

You have options. You can participate in a solar farm and may save on your energy bill each year. Community Solar, also known as Community Distributed Generation (CDG), allows anyone who pays an electric bill to participate in a Community Solar project.

Community Solar is making a difference in our clean energy future and supporting an exciting new chapter of renewable energy in our service territory. And more and more renewable energy sources, like solar farms, are being added to our energy grid.

Community Solar allows an electricity generation facility, like a solar farm, to share the benefits of clean energy production with participants. Through a subscription, residential and business customers can join to receive monthly credits from the electricity generated at the facility without the need to install or maintain equipment on your property.

How Does It Work

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    Sunlight hits the solar panels in the community solar field, generating electricity.

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    The electricity generated flows through an on-site meter to the electrical utility grid.

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    The utility company measures the electricity generated, calculates a dollar value for the power, and distributes this dollar value to the subscribers of the community solar program (residents and businesses) based on the subscriber’s contracted share.

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    The value of the solar electricity produced from the array is applied as a monetary credit to each subscriber’s electric bill.

A COMMUNITY SOLAR PROVIDER is a company that organizes, owns and/or operates a community solar project. A provider may also be called a sponsor, developer or asset owner.
A COMMUNITY SOLAR MARKETING REPRESENTATIVE may be hired by a community solar provider to market a community solar project to a utility's customers.
The community solar provider sends THE UTILITY a list of subscribers and their percentage allocation of the credits produced by the project. The provider may update the list of subscribers on a monthly basis.
A SUBSCRIBER is the customer that enrolls in a community solar project and receives credits on their electric utility bill.

Why Should I Participate?

Many of our customers are already taking advantage of the benefits.

  • Go solar without installing solar panels on your roof or property. Everyone who pays their own electric bill, including renters and co-op/condo owners, can participate in a community solar project. You can even subscribe to community solar if you live in an apartment or your home is in a shady area that isn’t suited to solar panels.
  • Save money every month on your electric bill. You’ll see credits every month on the electric bill you receive from O&R. The amount credited each month will depend on the amount of solar energy generated by your selected project.
  • Lower your carbon footprint. When you choose community solar, you’re not only helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, you’re also supporting clean electricity.

How Do I Participate?

  1. Find a Community Solar Project Near You
    Resources are available to help you review and locate CDG projects. NYSERDA offers a find a community solar project tool that includes a list of providers and projects available to O&R customers, as well as answers to frequently asked questions you can use while researching projects.
  2. Sign Up
    Once you find an available project, simply contact the provider to review any subscription terms or contracts and sign up through the project to start receiving credits on your electricity bill.
  3. Door – to – Door
    A Community Solar Provider or marketing representative may also go door-to-door to enroll customers in their solar project. View Distributed Energy Resources (DER), which are companies that have registered with the New York State Department of Public Service to offer Community Distributed Generation.

How Does Community Solar Affect My Electric Bill?

Community solar will usually lower your electric bill and allows you to enjoy the benefits of renewable solar energy. Each billing cycle, O&R applies the community solar credit value to your electric utility bill based on your subscription percentage of the solar project’s energy generation. Your subscription percentage is determined by the community solar provider and is set forth in your agreement with the provider. You remain obligated to pay the balance remaining on your utility bill after the credit is applied.

Community solar projects offer two types of billing models:

Dual Bill Model

Under the dual bill model, you will receive your O&R electric bill with any community solar credit applied and a separate bill from the community solar project provider, charging you for the CDG subscription fee(s) you agreed to in your agreement with the provider.


Consolidated Bill Model

Under the consolidated billing model, or net crediting, you will receive only one bill from O&R. The CDG subscription fee is deducted directly from the total credit applied to your O&R bill, resulting in a reduced, or net, credit being applied to your O&R bill and passing on a savings which is based on a contract between you and the community solar provider.


Consumer Protections

Community Distributed Generation (CDG) Providers (sponsors) and/or their CDG Marketing Representatives are required to register with the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) as a Distributed Energy Resource Supplier (DERS).

Any company that is interacting with customers, such as through sales and marketing activities, is required to register. Companies that are solely developing projects are not required to register.

Companies registered with DPS must abide by the Uniform Business Practices for Distributed Energy Resource Suppliers (UBP-DERS) established by the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). A list of registered solar developers can be found here.


General Marketing Standards

According to the UBP-DERS, companies registered with DPS must uphold certain marketing standards. These include, but are not limited to:

  • - Not engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct;
  • - Not making false or misleading representations including misrepresenting rates or savings offered by the DER supplier;
  • - Providing the customer with written information regarding products and services upon request;
  • - Complying with local laws and regulations regarding door-to-door marketing;
  • - Complying with the state and Federal laws regarding telemarketing, including the Do-Not-Call law;
  • - Obtaining a customer’s consent to a sales agreement prior to billing a customer or enrolling a customer.
  • - Sales agreement may be a written contract signed by the customer or the customer’s verbal or electronic authorization to enter into an agreement for the products and services specified.
  • - Customer inquiries or complaints should be directed to Department of Public Service Staff, for investigation and resolution of complaints.


Consumer Complaints

Office of Consumer Services
New York State Public Service Commission
Empire State Plaza
Agency Building 3
Albany, NY 12223-1350
Ph: 1-800-342-3377