What is a Sunscription? What am I paying for?
A Sunscription is an easy way for you to support renewable energy. It is designed to save you money by allowing you to subscribe to a portion of a Solar Garden, rather than owning the actual materials. Through the Illinois Shines community solar program, your electricity service provider purchases the energy from the Solar Garden and applies Bill Credits right to your electric bill.
US Solar designs, constructs, and operates Solar Gardens. US Solar also organizes the financing for the Solar Garden, so that you have no up-front costs. Your monthly payment to US Solar goes towards covering those initial project costs and the planned maintenance of the Solar Garden.
How does my Sunscription save me money?
$ Bill Credits – $ US Solar Payments = Savings
Your savings are equal to the difference between the Bill Credits you receive from your electricity service provider and the payments that you make to US Solar. We don’t know the exact amount you’ll save, but we estimate the energy production to give you an idea of what to expect. Actual savings will vary based on a variety of factors, including actual weather conditions.
How much does it cost to sign up?
There are no up-front costs or annual fees. You simply make monthly payments for your Sunscription, based on the amount of energy produced.
How long does the Sunscription Agreement last?
The Solar Garden and Agreement last for 20 years; however, you have the option to cancel your Sunscription early. Your Sunscription is also portable and transferable – your savings move with you as long as you are eligible. See below for additional details on transferring your subscription.
What happens if a year is very cloudy or energy production is low?
You only pay based on energy that is actually produced. This means that if production is low, your bill credits and Sunscription payments may be less than expected. This structure incentivizes us to use quality materials and to properly maintain the solar garden. Keep in mind that not all years will produce the same amount of energy. Some years may produce less energy, and some years may produce more.
BILL CREDITS & SUNSCRIPTION PAYMENTS
How much Bill Credit will I receive?
Your electricity service provider will apply Bill Credits directly to your electricity bill. The credit amount will be determined by how much energy is produced that month and the credit rate for that month. The credit rate established by your electricity service provider is based on the rate they charge you to supply energy to your address.
However, if you opt to receive service from an Alternative Retail Electric Supplier (or ARES), the ARES may be entitled to establish a credit rate that is different than the credit rate offered by your default electricity service provider - ComEd or Ameren. Since this may result in Bill Credits that are lower than your Sunscription Payments, we encourage you to review your ARES' credit rate before changing your electricity supplier.
How much will I pay?
Our pricing is set to provide you with real value. Your Sunscription Payments are based on two things:
How will my electricity billing change?
Now you will have two bills instead of one. You will receive your usual electricity bill, but it will be reduced based on your Bill Credits for that month.
You will also receive a separate bill from US Solar for your Sunscription Payment. There is a visual example of this in the Sunscription Guide.
Will my credit and payment amounts be the same each month?
Your Bill Credit amount and Sunscription Payment will vary each month. In Illinois, solar panels produce more energy in the summer months and less energy in the winter months. This means you can expect higher credits (reducing your electric bill more) and Sunscription payments in the summer, as these amounts reflect the amount of energy produced.
If there is excess credit on your bill, the credit will roll over to cover your charges on the next month’s bill. FOR AMEREN ELECTRIC CUSTOMERS: Each spring, any excess bill credits on your Ameren bill will expire. FOR COMED ELECTRIC CUSTOMERS: As long as you maintain ComEd as your electricity supplier, any excess bill credits will continue to carry forward.
TRANSFER & CANCELLATION
Can I transfer my Sunscription to someone else?
Yes, you can transfer your Sunscription to another eligible person. There is no Transfer Fee.
What happens if I move?
You can bring your Sunscription with you to your new residence as long as your new residence is with the same electricity service provider. Just be sure to notify us in advance. There is no fee to transfer your Sunscription to a new address.
What happens if I move and am no longer eligible?
You can either transfer or cancel your Sunscription Agreement. We recommend that you transfer your Sunscription to another eligible person to help us keep the Solar Garden full.
If you move and are no longer eligible, or in the event of death, there are no cancellation fees required.
Can I end my Sunscription Agreement early if I am still eligible?
If you are eligible but no longer wish to participate, we recommend you transfer your Sunscription to another eligible person. Otherwise you may cancel your Sunscription early by giving us 90 days notice and paying the Optional Early Cancellation fee of $150. As a reference point, the average annual savings is about $100.
What does US Solar need from me?
To confirm your eligibility and set up your Sunscription, you need to: provide your contact and ComEd or Ameren electric account information, sign the Community Solar Disclosure Form and Sunscription Agreement, perform a FICO soft credit check, and set up your ACH or Credit/Debit automatic payment information within our secure platform.
What information is available from US Solar?
Along with your Agreement, we provide your Community Solar Disclosure Form. After the Solar Garden is constructed, we will provide copies of the panel warranty, certificate of insurance, and maintenance plan. You’ll also be able to view your payment history and monitor the solar production at any time in your online Sunscription Dashboard.
When do I start seeing the Benefits?
You will start making Sunscription Payments when you start seeing Bill Credits on your electric bill. We will notify you as that date approaches and keep you updated along the way.
Who is eligible for a Sunscription with US Solar?
If you are an Ameren or ComEd customer and have a FICO of 680 or higher, you are eligible for a Sunscription. To subscribe to a Solar Garden, you must be located in the same electric service territory as the Solar Garden.
Please let us know if you have an electric service or electric supply company that is not Ameren or ComEd.
Will you share my personal information?
Your privacy and security is important to us. We will not sell or rent your contact information. We do not store any data necessary to check your credit; you will submit this data directly to the credit organization. We do not store any banking information; your financial data will be submitted directly to the financial transaction organization.
Do I get to pick which Solar Garden my Sunscription is at?
No, we will select an eligible Solar Garden for you and assign your Sunscription to it. This will not affect your pricing.
Do I own renewable energy or RECs from the Solar Garden?
No, your electricity service provider will own all renewable energy and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) associated with your Sunscription. This is part of the reason you receive a Bill Credit. Don't worry though - your Solar Garden is still producing clean, renewable energy!