Austin’s biggest initiative to bring solar power to renters and low-income customers officially begins today. That’s right. The La Loma Community Solar Farm is now pumping out locally-produced renewable energy.
What is community solar?
Community solar is a program that allows Austinites who have not traditionally had access to solar power (because they’re renters or can’t afford the high price tag associated with rooftop solar) to take action on climate change.
How does it work?
Any Austin Energy customer is able to apply to support Austin’s climate goals by becoming a community solar subscriber. Although subscribers’ individual homes will not exclusively receive electricity sent directly from La Loma (that gets a bit complicated), Austin Energy will ensure that enough local solar is produced to cover 100 percent of the homes’ electricity usage.
According to Austin Energy, the average community solar subscriber will pay anywhere from $10 to $18 more each month on their electricity bill. However, the community solar rate is fixed for 15 years, allowing for more stability in monthly bills (and also potentially saving customers money if regular rates rise over the next 15 years).
But that’s not even the most groundbreaking part…
La Loma is the first community solar farm in Texas to offer low-income customers a discounted rate on community solar. Half of the La Loma Community Solar project will be reserved for low-income Customer Assistance Program (CAP) participants. Plus, Austin Energy is offering CAP pricing for the community solar project that is actually lower than the standard Austin Energy rates. That means customers who subscribe for solar will be paying less money, while supporting the environment.
The community solar CAP program still has about 100 slots open. If you’re a CAP customer, you can sign up to participate here>>
The market-rate community solar option is fully subscribed with 220 participants and another 34 on the waitlist for future projects.
But that doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t apply! If you’re really passionate about solar and want to see Austin Energy build more of these community solar projects, then the utility recommends that you fill out the form and apply to be on the waitlist. They’ll be using the list to assess demand for future projects.
Want to learn more about community solar?
See the new La Loma Community Solar Farm on Saturday, March 24th from 10am to noon at the “Austin Energy Community Solabration.” The event will feature free food, prizes, kids activities, and the opportunity to tour the new solar farm. More info>>
Still can’t get enough solar? Join the nonprofit organization Solar Austin on Tuesday, March 27th from 5:30pm to 8pm at Scholz Garten for its monthly happy hour and an “Austin Local Solar Update” from Danielle Murray, Austin Energy’s Solar Program Manager. Danielle will be talking about a whole host of local solar issues, including community solar, a new pilot program called Shared Solar, and changes to the residential solar incentive program. More info>>