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CUB’s evaluation of Solstice’s community solar offer

If you are not already familiar with community solar, we recommend reading CUB’s Introduction to Community Solar first.

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

Solstice will look at your annual electricity usage history to determine your community solar subscription size, which is measured in kilowatts (kW).

Once your subscription is activated, each month, your subscription will produce solar energy, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

The supply section of your electric utility bill will be credited for what your subscription produced that month. Then, Solstice will charge you for those credits in a separate solar bill, but with a 20% discount applied. In calculating your solar bill payment, Solstice assumes you are receiving utility bill credits that reflect the default utility electricity supply charge. Even though you are now receiving two bills, you should be saving money overall.

Your subscription size is designed to provide credits for your full electricity usage for the year, though there will be changes in your subscription’s energy production from month to month. For example, your subscription will produce less in winter, but more in summer, and your credits from the summer will rollover to help cover your electricity usage in winter.

What does CUB think about this offer?

Community solar allows more Illinois consumers to access the benefits of clean energy, and CUB is pleased to see more offers hit the market. We recommend comparing multiple offers and reading your contract thoroughly before signing up.

This chart summarizes key points about the Solstice deal:

Does the company offer savings? Yes. Solstice offers 20 percent* off the utility default supply rate for the utility bill credits you receive.
Is there a credit check when I sign up? There is no FICO credit check, but Solstice does look at your most recent utility bill to ensure there are no outstanding or late payments.
What is the contract term? 15 years
Is there an “exit fee” for leaving the contract early? None (Solstice requires 90 days’ written notice)
What are my billing options? Paperless billing is required. Automatic billing is also required, either through recurring ACH direct debit or credit/debit card payments.

*Your payment is equal to the value of bill credits, assuming the default electricity supply
charge with your utility, minus your discount of 20%.

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

You should only be charged by your community solar company once you start receiving utility bill credits. When that is depends on when your subscribed community solar project is interconnected to the utility grid.

You can find the month the company expects your subscription to go live in the “Subscription Specifications” section of the Standard Disclosure Form provided to you (if you weren’t provided a Standard Disclosure Form, that’s a problem – see the questions and concerns section below).

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 cancel or assign your subscription to someone else.

Solstice does not charge a cancellation fee, and you must give 90 days written notice. In those 90 days, Solstice will still bill you for the solar produced by your subscription, and you will still receive utility bill credits if your account is still active.

How do I sign up?
To sign up for Solstice’s community solar offer, visit their website here. CUB recommends comparing multiple offers before signing up. See all offers available to you at www.SolarintheCommunity.com, under the “Current Community Solar Deals” tab.

Who do I contact with questions or concerns?

We do our best at CUB to provide transparent information to consumers, but CUB does not administer the community solar program. If you have a complaint about Solstice or questions about the community solar program generally, contact the Illinois Shines program by calling 1-877-783-1820, emailing
admin@illinoisshines.com, or visiting IllinoisShines.com.

If you still have questions or concerns about solar, including an advertisement you might have seen or someone who came to your door, you can call the CUB Hotline: 1-800-669-5556, Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm.

If you believe you have been subject to fraudulent or deceptive sales practices, the Consumer Protection
Division of the Illinois Attorney General’s office may be able to help. Customers can contact the
following hotlines: Chicago: 1-800-386-5468 (TTY 1-800-964-3013), Springfield: 1-800-243-0618 (TTY 1-877-844-5461), Carbondale: 1-800-243-0607 (TTY 1-877-675-9339), and Spanish: 1-866-310-8398.

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