It’s a familiar country joke: “Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Maybe instead of ignoring the changes in our climate, you've thought about taking some positive steps to help limit the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere by installing solar panels on your home, and then realized that was too expensive, or your home is not exposed to the sun, or you don't expect to remain in the house for much longer. Don't despair; there is a way you can both support and benefit from solar without installing panels on your property or roof.
Community Solar Campaign
November 15, 2021 through January 31, 2022
The Town of Taghkanic is excited to launch its very own Community Solar Campaign. Together with Ampion Renewable Energy, the Town of Taghkanic presents this opportunity for residents to save money while supporting in-state solar energy. No installation, no cost, and you stay with your same electric utility provider.
New York State's Community Solar Program is meant to make the benefits of solar available to everyone! Not only will you save up to 10% off your electric bill, but through December 15, 2021 each new, approved participant will also receive a $100 Visa gift card. In addition, the Town of Taghkanic will receive a $100 donation for each new subscription, and at the end of the campaign will be eligible for a $5000 Department of Energy Conservation grant. These funds will be used to support another Climate Smart project in Taghkanic, extending the impact that your action will have in combating climate change. There is no cost to enroll, no solar panels to be installed, and no obligation if you change your mind. It's a win for you, and it's a win for your town!
Simply visit ampion.net/taghkanic to sign up and make an impact.
Contact Corinna Ricard-Farzan of Ampion:
firstname.lastname@example.org | (443) 226-9877
Or Come to the Information Session:
Saturday Nov 20, 10am - noon
How does this work?
Electric utility companies in New York State have been mandated to produce 70% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030. Part of their approach to meeting this goal is to purchase some of their energy from community solar farms. These are typically smaller installations, which on average occupy about 8 acres of land and generate around 2 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply around 500 individual homes. By comparison, the much-publicized Shepherd's Run solar farm proposed for Craryville is a 60-megawatt farm, slated to occupy more than 225 acres.
Where are the community solar farms located?
A community solar farm need not be located right in the community it serves; it can be anywhere along the utility’s grid network. When a solar farm "plugs into" a utility anywhere along its grid, it reduces by a small amount the reliance of that utility on fossil fuels for its electricity production. Because Taghkanic is served by three different electrical utilities (National Grid, NYSEG, and Central Hudson G&E), we searched for a provider who could offer subscriptions to solar farms serving all three utilities. We found this in Ampion, a provider who has recently completed successful community solar campaigns with some of our neighbors (New Lebanon, Peekskill, Balston, NY) and comes highly recommended by those communities. The three solar installations currently offering new subscriptions in this program are located in the Catskills, the Finger Lakes region, and near Buffalo (see Figure).
How do I save money on my electric bill?
When you sign up for community solar, you will be assigned a number of panels that corresponds to your average monthly electricity usage, as shown on your utility bill. Because it is cheaper to produce solar electricity than it is to transport and burn fossil fuels, your utility has to charge you less each month for the portion of your usage that was produced from your panels. The savings each month appear as credits on your bill and are capped at 10 percent. During the shorter days of winter, your panels will generate less than the monthly average, you will generate fewer credits, and the savings will be less than 10%. During the summer months, your panels will produce more than your monthly average usage, and you will receive both the credits to reduce your bill by 10%, and excess credits that are rolled over to the next month. The result over the course of a year is an average savings of 10% on your bill.
What is the relationship between the solar farm, the utility, and Ampion?
A solar farm is a privately owned business established for the purpose of capturing energy from the sun and converting it to electricity. The electricity is then distributed via the utility grid. People can subscribe to a solar farm and receive a credit on their electricity bills for their share of the energy produced. Ampion acts as a broker for the solar farms, enrolling new subscribers and providing customer service.
If something happened to damage the solar farm so that it could not generate electricity, would my power get cut off?
NO, that won't happen. Consider a typical roof-mounted solar situation. Unless one has a sophisticated battery back-up system, homes with roof-mounted solar panels are still connected to the grid to ensure a steady supply of electricity during the night and on cloudy days. When the sun is shining, the home uses less utility-supplied electricity and may even send electricity back into the grid. However, when the panels are not generating electricity—this could even be due to damage–the home continues to receive uninterrupted electricity from the grid. Community solar works the same way. You receive credits when the farm is generating electricity, but your electricity supply from the grid is not interrupted overnight, on cloudy days, or even in the highly unlikely event of damage to the solar farm.
I like the idea of renewable energy, but what happens to all the panels at the end of their useful life?
Solar panels typically perform well for 30 years before their energy production begins to decline. This means there will be an enormous demand for recycling panels in the not-too-distant future, but not right now. The recycling technology does exist, however, and is quite advanced in Europe where policies require manufacturers to recycle their products. Because there is no such regulation in the U.S. and the large demand for panel recycling is still many years off, recycling here is very limited. This will shift as more and more solar panels reach the end of their productivity and the recycling business becomes more profitable.