Brockport, Lima provides residents opt-out neighborhood solar

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The villages of Brockport and Lima have signed a three-party agreement with Joule and Generate Capital to provide residents with solar energy on an opt-out basis.

As part of Joule's Finger Lakes Community Choice program, the solar opt-out community program will be expanded to over 3,800 households in the two New York state communities. This program is expected to start this year and will be the first solar opt-out program in the US

Generate has partnered with 38 Degrees North to acquire the solar projects in the area that will provide residents with 17 million kWh of solar energy for 25 years. Joule, the program administrator, has been helping the development of a community choice program in the villages since early 2017, including providing public relations and education about both electricity and solar options in the community. Joule is the only government-approved program administrator to integrate community solar and power into a community offering.

The community-level opt-out ensures equal access to the benefits of community decentralized generation from renewable sources – including savings on electricity bills made possible by New York's renewable energy incentives. The community solar program and the signing of the three-party agreements offer participants a guaranteed 10% saving on solar loans without having to sign an individual contract, undergo a credit check, pay a second bill for solar, or install solar panels in their home or property.

“Joule and the villages of Brockport and Lima have developed a market structure that enables the entire community to make significant savings,” says Chris Bailey, Managing Partner at 38 Degrees North. “We are proud to have worked with Joule and Generate to provide innovative financing solutions that will accelerate the growth of Community Choice Aggregation across New York.”

The shift in energy production helps build local prosperity. Solar projects distribute the benefits in the form of reliable savings to individual households, but also to the communities in the form of job creation and the revenues of the communities. Jobs are created in the construction, operation and management of the solar projects that are in close proximity to the communities they serve. Local businesses will benefit from more and steady income flowing into the community. The projects themselves will also contribute to local revenues.

Opt-out Community Solar effectively guarantees the solar developer that the entire electricity produced will be purchased without the need to arouse interest or a market for every potential individual customer. The community-level arrangement essentially ensures subscribers have been secured in advance, promoting an environment in which solar projects can be developed on a large scale across the state.

National Grid will continue to provide electricity to all residents and will remain responsible for repairs, maintenance and service. Residents can cancel the program at any time without penalty, but lose the guaranteed 10% discounts on solar billing credits that reduce their annual electricity bills.

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