Subscription Fees and Bill Credits (LI)

Quick Definitions

  • Bill Credits: the amount of money credited to your utility account
  • Bill Credit Rate: the monetary value of a kWh (a unit of electricity) which you are credited
  • Subscription Fees: monthly fees paid by subscribers to community solar Project Managers
  • Subscription Fee Rate: monetary value of a kWh for which you are charged

Credits and fees show up directly on your utility bill from Pacific Power, Portland General Electric, or Idaho Power. These credits and fees will be at a fixed rate per unit of energy produced from your subscription for the duration of your contract.

Bill credit rates by utility are found in the table below. Different projects will charge different subscription fees, but as a low-income subscriber, your subscription fee rate will always be at least 20% less than your bill credit rate, resulting in a net savings on your utility bill.

Portland General Electric

Pacific Power

Idaho Power

Bill Credit Rate (per kWh)




Maximum Subscription Fee Rate (per kWh)




Costs and Benefits

The total amount you receive and pay will depend on the size of your solar subscription. (See “how is my subscription size decided” below) Your subscription size will be listed on page 2 of  the contract you receive from your Project Manager. Below is an example for an average household in Oregon.

In this chart, a subscriber is a PGE customer that has been assigned a subscription size of 6.2 kW, which produces 8,640 kWh of electricity over the course of one year, covering approximately 80% of their annual energy use. With a 20% low-income subscription fee discount from their Project Manager, they will pay $775.18 in subscription fees, and receive $970.62 in bill credits, saving a total of $195.44 for that year. If a subscriber has a larger subscription size, then they will have higher subscription fees, bill credits, and overall savings. Likewise, the smaller the subscription, the smaller the overall savings. Oversubscription should always be avoided (see more about oversubscription below).

These solar fees and credits will be applied monthly, depending on how much solar energy is produced in each month. Far more solar energy is produced in summer months, with longer days (16 hours versus 9 hours) so both credits and fees will be higher in the summer than in the winter. However, customers should expect to receive some amount of savings each month. The credits will be 20% higher than the fees each month.

How is my Subscription Size Decided?

We will use the utility account number you provided during your intake call to access your energy use history. Your solar subscription will likely be sized at 80% of your average annual energy use. If you do not have at least 6 months history with your utility provider at your current housing location, your solar subscription will be sized more modestly to protect you from oversubscription. You and your Project Manager have the final say on what size your subscription is and will be stated on the contract you sign as part of enrollment. Your subscription size will be noted in the contract you sign with your PM under “Your Subscription.”

What is Oversubscription?

Community solar participants are not allowed to have more than 100% of their annual energy use covered by solar. If a subscription size is too large, in April they must pay back any credits that went beyond that 100%. CEP strongly recommends that low-income customers are sized at no more than 80% of annual energy use to avoid the possibility of oversubscription, but you and your PM may decide to go higher or lower.

We support you.

If you find that you need extra assistance, please contact Community Energy Project, our low-income nonprofit partner.
Community Solar Coordinator
[email protected]

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