The community solar program is not geographically limited, so you don’t need to live in an area where solar panels are efficient or even allowed. You also don’t need to own or live in a house. You can live anywhere and participate in Arcadia Power’s solar program as long as you have an electrical bill. This program won’t net profit for you — the credits you receive max out at the level of your monthly electric bill or, if you have a consolidated bill for electricity and gas, for example, at the amount of the bill allocated for electricity.
You can start by buying one solar panel. You can buy more than one, but only up to the number of panels that fully offsets your local electric utility charges. Each solar panel costs $350 and you pay for them up front. After that initial $350 purchase, you don’t pay anything more for a panel — maintenance and insurance are included, Arcadia Power CEO Kiran Bhatraju told Digital Trends.
When you chose a solar project to join, you’ll also see a term rating, typically 10 to 20 years — “term” refers to the expected payback time. So, for example, if you buy a $350 panel with a 10-year term you can figure that most likely you’ll save about $35 a year on your electric bill.
If you want to zero out, that is, buy enough solar panels that you’ll have most or all of your electricity paid from the proceeds of the solar energy added to the power grid by your panels, there’s a calculator on the Arcadia Power website. Consultants are also available to help you make the calculations.
However many panels you decide to buy, be aware there are no guarantees or constants. The amount of energy credit applied to your electric bill will vary with the season and the weather. It’s not like Arcadia Power will be building solar projects in shady areas, however; its engineers use the same site selection parameters as people who build large-scale solar farms.
Arcadia Power is a member of the National Community Solar Partnership and has software integrated with over 400 utility billing systems nationwide. The program is also portable, so if you move, your electricity savings program moves with you. With Arcadia Power’s smartphone app and online account, you can monitor both your monthly solar energy production and your savings in real-time.
“We’re making solar savings inclusive rather than exclusive,” said Arcadia Power founder and CEO Kiran Bhatraju. “Our product cuts through many of the barriers that have held solar power back for so many years. It’s modern, portable, reduces long-term energy costs, and is available to anyone that pays a power bill.”