How Community Solar Works

Back on March 2, I wrote about Relay Power, which is marketing community solar programs around Massachusetts. Today, I had an hour-long call with Relay Power to learn more about it.

Currently, they’re working with 12 solar farms around the state, with at least 3 more to come online this year. The one we talked about is being built on a landfill in Dover. The basic premise is that I would commit to buying power from x number of solar panels from their development partner, Blue Wave, for 20 years. In exchange, Blue Wave would provide power to me at a 10% discount to the current pricing (the whole bill, not just the generation) that I get from my utility. That’s pretty much it.

What’s the catch? As far as I can tell the only risk is if I move. There’s a $1,250 early cancellation, but only if they’re not able to find someone to pickup my contract. According to them, there’s always a waiting a list so they discount that possibility, but of course, I think it’s a pretty real risk. .

We talked some numbers and for my consumption over a year, we’re probably talking about a 24-panel package. That’s a lot of power! Blue Wave operates 3 other farms around southeast Massachusetts, so I’m going to look into experiences with those, as well as read the contrast they sent over pretty carefully. It’s a promising development.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • mrhe March 14, 2017, 6:03 am

    So more or less this is getting solar power without the upfront expense of installing them on your roof? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal potentially.

  • One Civic Act March 14, 2017, 9:15 am

    Indeed. The early cancellation fee is worth about 10 years of cost savings. The carbon emissions savings are forever. But there are 14 pages of legal small print I need to review…

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