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

This is an evaluation of Clearway’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 Clearway community solar offer affect my electric bill?

Clearway 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 electric bill will be reduced by the community solar bill credits. You will also pay a second monthly bill to Clearway.

Even though you are now receiving two bills, you will still save money overall.

On your utility bill you will see a credit for your community solar subscription. Clearway will bill you for the energy generated by your subscription, with a 20% discount applied. That’s where the savings come in. The total amount you save monthly will vary as the solar production of your subscription varies.

What about alternative suppliers?

If you are currently enrolled with an alternative supplier, this could jeopardize your community solar savings. CUB has heard that some alternative suppliers will not credit you for your community solar subscription at the same rate as you are being charged for electricity. Be sure to cancel with your supplier when you sign up for community solar.

What does CUB think about this offer?

Community solar allows more Illinois consumers to support renewable energy, and CUB is pleased to see more offers hit the market. From reviewing the terms of Clearway’s offer, we did not see any red flags. Still, we recommend comparing multiple offers and understanding all the terms before signing up for community solar. Always read your contract thoroughly.

This chart summarizes key points about the Clearway deal:

Does the company offer savings? Yes. Clearway offers 20% off the utility default supply rate for the community solar bill credits you receive, but you must use over 3200 kWh per year to qualify.
Is there a credit check when I sign up? Yes, Clearway performs a soft credit check, but it will not impact your credit score.
What is the contract term? 20 years. However, you may end the contract anytime. Clearway requires 60 days’ notice of cancellation.
Is there an “exit fee” for leaving the contract early? There is no exit fee. Clearway requires 90 days’ notice of cancellation.
What are my billing options? Clearway accepts the following payment methods: check, money order, credit card, debit card, and automatic payments from a checking or savings account.
Bonuses available as of 10/23/2020 $40 bill credit when you enroll in autopay
$200 Amazon gift card to you and customer you refer

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 in which you are assigned is completed. The Community Solar Standard Disclosure Form you receive from Clearway 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 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 by providing proof of your move. If you are moving you must give Clearway 60 days’ written notice. During that period the community solar provider will still bill you for the solar produced, and you will still receive bill credits if your account is still active.

How do I sign up?
To enroll in Clearway’s community solar program, visit Clearway’s website. 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!