The current gold standard for solar is a shiny, modern solar roof installation that sits atop a zero-net energy home. But not every homeowner has the resources and knowledge to achieve that kind of sustainable sanctuary. Enter solar farms: With a subscription to a shared solar farm, homeowners can receive the lower costs of solar while never having to install it on their roof. While a subscription does not allow homeowners to sell back the extra energy made nor can does it qualify for tax credit, solar farms could be the way for those who are unsure or confused about solar to still pursue a more sustainable, energy-efficient option.
As the winter of 2019 bore down on the upstate New York suburb of Guilderland, Mary Anne Bettcker, 65, got a curious letter in the mail. A company named Arcadia was pitching solar power — not from her roof, but from an unspecified “new community solar project.”
One of the things that struck Bettcker as odd was that Arcadia was a long way from her community. It was based halfway across the country, in Tulsa, Okla. To sweeten the deal, the company’s letter offered a $75 gift card, as well as a 5% discount on Bettcker’s electric bill.
“It was almost like a come-on, like sales for a car,” she laughs. “It just seemed ridiculous.”
Though the letter seemed far-fetched to Bettcker, a school nurse, she likes solar power as a concept. “There are people in my neighborhood who have started putting solar panels on their house,” she says, “so there must be something to it.”