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

This is an evaluation of the Constellation and Arcadia community solar offering. (If you are not already familiar with community solar, we recommend reading our Introduction to Community Solar first.) Constellation is marketing this offer, and Arcadia is their billing provider.

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

To participate in this  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 (Constellation’s billing provider), 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.

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 you are being charged for electricity. Be sure to cancel with your supplier when you sign up for community solar.

Important: Constellation is an alternative supplier, but customers signing up for this community solar offer aren’t required to switch to another supplier. They can stay with ComEd as their supplier. 

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 are concerned  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, Constellation and Arcadia promise 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 offers  available in Illinois.

What utility territory does the company serve?
ComEd.
Does the company offer you savings? Yes. Constellation and Arcadia offer 10% off the utility default supply rate for the community solar bill credits you receive.
Is there a credit check when I sign up? Yes
What is the contract term? 1 year; then month-to month 
Is there an “exit fee” for leaving the contract early? No. There is no exit fee.
What are my billing options? Arcadia’s statements will replace your utility’s bills. When you are with Arcadia, you will no longer receive an emailed version of your bill from your electric utility (ComEd)

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 Constellation and Arcadia includes the month they expect your subscription to go live in the “Subscription Term” 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 the company behind the offer  90 days’ written notice.

How do I sign up?

To enroll in thiscommunity solar program, visit Constellation and Arcadia’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!