Once you’re a subscriber within a program and have signed a contract with a project or subscription manager, they will be your main point of contact regarding your subscription.
If your solar project has not become operational at the time of signing a contract, you won’t begin to receive bill credits until the project has begun generating electricity for your utility. Even after generation, expect that it may take a couple of months before your community solar subscription appears on your electric bill. Depending on when you receive your existing electric bill, there may be months when you receive no bill credits or fees and instead receive bill credits and fees for two-months’ worth of solar production on the next bill. Please refer to the Aligning Your Bill Cycle with Community Solar Credits and Fees guide under Subscriber Resources for more information. In addition, there will be fluctuation in bill charges or savings, depending on the time of the year. Since solar generation is higher in the summer months, expect your bill credits to be higher in the summer and lower in the winter months. If you have any questions regarding billing, please reach out to your project manager.
Late or Partial Payments
There are different considerations on what a “late” bill payment is for the utility versus a project manager. Utility bill payments take precedent over Community Solar subscriptions in terms of payment allocation, and therefore a partial utility bill payment could result in a late fee for your Community Solar subscription. It is important to communicate with your project manager when this occurs.
Any additional fees are collected off-bill and the rate and method of required payment must be outlined in your contract. Fees could include a contract transfer, early termination, subscription size change, or late fee. Low-income participants are exempt from contract transfer fees, early termination fees, and late fees. A subscription size fee may not be charged to a low-income participant for reducing the size of a subscription due to their new site using less electricity annually than the subscription generates, or if the low-income participant reduces their subscription to avoid oversubscription.
Customers who are enrolled in Equal Pay plans with their electric utility are eligible to participate, but be aware that due to variation in monthly solar generation, their bill will not be equal each month.
Risk of Oversubscription
If a participant’s community solar subscription generates more kWh than they consume over the course of a billing year (which begins in April and ends in March), the participant will be charged for the repayment of any excess kWh they’ve received through an annual reconciliation process.
To minimize the risk of oversubscription, it is recommended that subscriptions be sized to produce no more than 80% of participants’ annual consumption, so that they are not at risk of oversubscribing. However, oversubscription may still occur due to unforeseen factors such as weather and usage habits.
Every April, a comparison of the actual kWh credited from the subscription will be made against actual kWh electricity used at the site, prorated as necessary, based on when subscription starts. The value of excess kWh credited, should there be any, will be recovered from participants and donated at the as-available-avoided cost rate for use in low-income programs of the electric company serving the participant. If this is the case, an adjustment shall be included on the participant’s next utility bill indicating the amount due.
For low-income participants, if there is a balance owed from oversubscription, the customer’s net savings will be used to repay the oversubscribed amount until the full payment is recouped. This means that a low-income participant that oversubscribes may not receive any savings from their subscription for some time, but their bills will never increase as a result of community solar.
The program administration team will be providing quarterly checks for participants and notifying their project managers if they are believed to be at risk of oversubscription.
Oregon Community Solar subscribers will experience variability on their monthly utility bills in terms of subscription fees and generation credits. Since solar radiation varies throughout the year in Oregon, customers will receive a majority of their bill credits in the summer months.
Changes to your Utility Account or Subscription Status
You will need to contact your project or subscription manager to inform them of any changes to your utility account or subscription status, such as a moving to a different address, transferring your subscription to another participant, or requesting to cancel your subscription, or legally changing your name. Your project or subscription manager is responsible for updating the information that is sent to your utility for billing purposes.