Letters went out last week to New Paltz residents who have defaulted to receiving 100% of their electricity from renewable sources generated in New York. In it, recipients were provided information on tapping into community solar, another state energy initiative through which people without panels on their homes can buy electricity from a local solar farm and get a 10% discount off the price per kilowatt hour.
Community solar is a separate program from Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), through which town residents find themselves paying for all green energy at a slight savings if they hadn’t already chosen to pay more for power through an energy service company. Supervisor Neil Bettez signed his own home up for community solar first, and said that the only drawback is that it results in two bills: one is for the solar-generated power; the other is the Central Hudson bill for its delivery. He believes state law will be changed to put the solar on the Central Hudson bill before much longer.
What’s new is how these two programs are being run together. Residents can now approach CCA administrator Joule Community Power to arrange the community solar connection. This provides an easy way to get customers for the solar farms, customers who will save an additional 10% on their electricity power cost. For every community solar signup request received at Joule, $50 is being donated to Family of New Paltz. At the June 4 town council meeting, Bettez said that $1,000 was already promised.
There is no commitment to stick with community solar, Bettez noted.