Community Solar: How it Benefits Consumers and Their Communities

Array of Solar Panels in the Sun

The shift toward a renewable energy future in the U.S. is on its way.

If you want to take part in a cleaner electric grid while also saving money on your electric bill, you might consider powering your home with solar. But for many, rooftop solar just isn't an option: You might not own your residence, you might live in a shady area that's not ideal for panels, or maybe you're simply not ready to invest in a rooftop system. If you fall into one of these groups, there's another green, economical choice: community solar.

A community solar array is a central solar project through which electricity is shared by more than a single property. As more projects are built, we'll see access to solar reach more Americans than ever before. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about one-third of the U.S. currently has policies that enable and support community solar. And as demand for access to solar grows, that number is only expected to grow.

Let's explore the benefits of community solar.

Consumer benefits

In addition to access to solar power without having to install panels on your home, community solar can help you save money on your monthly electric bills. Community solar participants typically save from 5 to 15 percent off their typical electricity bills. (For more on what IGS Energy customers can expect to save, head here.)

Community benefits

As more people enroll in community solar, we'll see a range of economic benefits, including the creation of high-quality local jobs. Using community solar also helps make your community's electric grid more resilient – meaning there's a better chance of avoiding prolonged power outages.

Environmental benefits

One way to flip the switch to a cleaner, greener energy future is through community solar. Solar power is renewable – meaning it doesn't result in the carbon emissions created when we consume fossil fuel-derived energy – and the investment in these projects supports the creation of future solar projects.

How community solar works

Ready to explore your options? Here's what to expect:

  1. As part of a state-supported incentive program, a company builds a large solar array that produces solar power.
  2. The power generated from this array flows to your local electricity grid.
  3. Once you sign up to reserve a portion of the energy produced from the solar array, you receive a credit from your utility for the electricity produced by your subscription. (With IGS Energy, you earn a guaranteed 10 percent savings on your energy supply costs.)

After you’re enrolled in a community solar project, you’ll continue to receive your electric bill from your utility. Once your solar project is turned on, you’ll see your credits automatically applied to your utility bill for the cost of the electricity your subscription produced. Watch this video to learn more about how community solar works.

Community solar is playing a significant, important role in our transition to a more sustainable grid overall.

The availability of community solar project depends on where you live. IGS Energy currently offers community solar in Illinois, and we’re expanding to more states in the future. Check out this page for answers to common community solar-related questions.

Illinois residents: Explore your community solar options!