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Arcadia: CUB’s evaluation of a new community solar offer

This is an evaluation of Arcadia’s community solar offering. (If you are not already familiar with community solar, we recommend reading our Introduction to Community Solar first.)

How will signing up for the Arcadia community solar offer affect my electric bill?

To participate in Arcadia’s offer, you must first connect your utility and billing information. To do that, you must have an online account with your utility (ComEd or Ameren) and enter your login info (username and password) into Arcadia’s online system.

Once you’ve signed up with Arcadia, your utility bill will be redirected to Arcadia. Instead of the utility emailing you a bill, Arcadia will send you a monthly statement. This monthly statement will combine your utility bill and the savings from your community solar subscription.

Arcadia will look at your energy usage history to determine your subscription size, measured in kilowatts (kW). Each month your subscription will produce solar energy, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Once the community solar project you are assigned to is completed, your monthly Arcadia statement will include the community solar bill credits produced by your subscription. Arcadia gives you a 10% discount on these bill credits compared to the standard utility supply cost. That’s where the savings come in. The total amount you save monthly will vary as the solar production of your subscription varies.

Until your project is completed, Arcadia will estimate your community solar savings and apply credits to your bills based on that estimate.

All Arcadia members receive wind RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) to cover 50% of their electricity usage at no additional cost. A REC represents the environmental benefit of renewable energy. Learn more about RECs in our Guide to Renewable Energy Plans.

What about alternative suppliers?

All customers, regardless of their alternative electricity supplier, can now receive solar bill credits as part of a community solar program. Click here to learn more about alternative suppliers for consumers in ComEd territory and Ameren territory.

What does CUB think about this offer?

Community solar allows more Illinois consumers to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy, and CUB is pleased to see these offers hit the market. However, we think that requiring customers to turn their utility account credentials over to Arcadia will be a barrier for customers who don’t have online accounts.

Additionally, Arcadia promises 10% savings over your utility’s energy supply price, but other community solar companies are offering 20% savings. Visit Solar in the Community to see CUB’s analysis of other deals available in Illinois.

This chart summarizes key points about the Arcadia deal:

What utility territory does the company serve? Ameren and ComEd.
Does the company offer savings? Yes. Arcadia offers 10% off the utility default supply rate for the community solar bill credits you receive.
Is there a credit check when I sign up? No.
What is the contract term? The contract term is 15 years with no renewals.
Is there an “exit fee” for leaving the contract early? No, but 90 days’ notice is required.
What are my billing options? Automatic payment is required. Arcadia’s statements will replace your utility’s bills. Arcadia has access to your utility account and pays your utility bill through your Arcadia payment.

When will my subscription go live? When will I start to see credits on my utility bill?

This depends on when the community solar garden to which you are assigned is completed. The Community Solar Standard Disclosure Form you receive from Arcadia includes the month they expect your subscription to go live in the “Subscription Specifications” section. Once you sign up, you can also check your customer portal for updates on your project.

What happens if I move?

If you move within your current utility territory you can take your community solar subscription with you. If you move outside of the utility territory, you can either assign your subscription to someone else. (That person must first properly enroll in the community solar program, including reviewing all of the applicable IPA Disclosure forms.) You also can cancel with no penalty. If you are moving you must give Arcadia 90 days’ written notice.

Can I sign up for Arcadia’s offer and a real-time pricing program?

It depends on your electricity provider. If your provider is ComEd and you enroll in Arcadia’s community solar program, you cannot also participate in ComEd’s Hourly Pricing program. However, if you are an Ameren customer you can participate in both Arcadia’s community solar program and Ameren’s Power Smart Pricing plan.

How do I sign up?

To enroll in Arcadia’s community solar program, visit Arcadia’s website. Note: Think Energy is a designee of Arcadia that is allowed to market for Arcadia. CUB recommends comparing multiple offers before signing up. See all offers available to you at Solar in the Community.

Have you signed up for a community solar program?  Let us know about your experience!