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  • Community Solar

    You can benefit from solar even if it's not on your roof!

    One of the fastest growing segments of the solar industry is community solar.  While these projects take many forms, they all have one common feature: a number of people buy solar from a solar location not on their property and not tied to their electric meter. This is particularly useful for solar supporters who rent, have shaded or otherwise unusable roofs, or who do not want to commit to a solar system at their home or business.  In other states, sometimes this arrangement is called a solar garden, although those (where a group of people share a solar installation) are not legal in Arizona a this time.

    In Tucson, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and Trico Electric each have a community solar program, although they are different.  TEP's program, Bright Tucson Community Solar Program, allows you to buy 150 kilowatt hours (kWh)/month blocks of solar power for a slight increase over the usual per kilowatt hour cost.  Then the solar electricity (which comes from large solar farms that TEP controls) shows on your bill just like electricity produced on your roof.  You pay for the "block" of solar electricity and you pay the regular rate for the balance of your usage.  Your rate for power is guaranteed not to increase when TEP seeks a rate increase (TEP announced they will seek an increase in 2016) and you can discontinue the program at any time.  Customers can buy some or all of their power through the program.

    Trico Electric's community solar program, the Community Sun Farm, operates differently.  There you buy a part of, or a whole, solar panel located at Trico's headquarters, and you receive a credit on your bill for the output of that equipment.  You are purchasing the equipment, not just the output like TEP, so you do not need to have install panels on your property.  

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