Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are community-owned solar gardens?
    

The Clean Energy Collective constructs and maintains solar arrays, known as solar gardens, in centralized locations. The panels in the solar arrays are owned by individual community members who receive credits on their electricity bill for the power produced by their panels. Community solar allows all customers the opportunity to utilize clean renewable energy. Any business or consumer can now take advantage of solar power including renters, those with poorly sighted properties and individuals of all income levels, without having to build a costly system of their own. Community solar customers receive the same financial benefits as they would if the panels were installed on their roofs. However, since CEC performs all the maintenance and provides the solar industry's best warranty - up to 50 years - consumers don't have to worry about maintenance or repair.

Clean Energy Collective operates solar gardens in many locations. Find your utility company below to get started:

COLORADO

NEW MEXICO

MINNESOTA

VERMONT

Q: What am I purchasing?
     You are purchasing and owning specific solar panels that will be mounted in a community array that is operated and maintained by the Clean Energy Collective.
Q: How much does it cost?
     Our starting price for most Holy Cross customers is $3.15/watt or $725 per 230-watt panel. Please call the CEC directly so we can propose system that fits your energy needs.
Q: Is financing available?
     Yes! CEC has two financing options that are easy and affordable. If you want to maximize your savings right from the start to offset your entire electric bill, then the Sooper Credit Union's Clean Energy Loan Program is for you. The Clean Energy Loan Program the first low-cost, long-term loan program designed exclusively for Clean Energy Collective members. If you want to incrementally add panels to your system over time, then CEC's SolarSaver Plan for you. Start with one panel and add over time until you are 100% community solar-powered!. Click here to read more about CEC's financing options.
Q: Do customers need to own a home or building to participate?
     No! This is one of the many benefits of owning solar with the CEC. Anyone with an electric bill is eligible to purchase solar panels, including homeowners, businesses, renters, lessees, community organizations, etc.
Q: Do I have to file apply for rebates or file with the IRS tax credits?
     No! The CEC takes care of everything so that you don’t have the hassle of filling out tax credit forms or rebate applications. The CEC takes advantage of the rebates and tax credits, passing on the savings to you for a hands-free experience, year after year. Most importantly you won’t have to come up with the additional out-of-pocket costs and then wait around for your rebate and tax credits to come back to you.
Q: Will I have to pay additional fees in the future?
     No. All of the insurance, warranty, management and maintenance for the systems are included in the initial sales price and escrow program. As a customer you will not have to pay any additional out of pocket fees.
Q: Can I buy more watts later?
     Absolutely. At any time, CEC customers may purchase as many panels as it takes to offset their Holy Cross energy bills.
Q: What happens if I move?
     Customers may:
  • Transfer your ownership to your new HCE account
  • Resell your ownership at a fair market value
  • Donate your ownership to a local non-profit
  • Transfer your ownership to a family member
Q: How is the credit to my monthly utility bill determined?
     Due to the fact that your solar panels are part of an array that shares one production meter, your bill will be credited back at a pro-rata share of the entire array’s production.
Q: Who owns the energy/electricity produced?
     As a CEC customer and owner of your solar panels, you will own the rights to the power that your panels produce. Holy Cross Energy has agreed to buy this energy at a premium rate, paying you 37% more than energy produced by a traditional, rooftop solar system.
Q: How much will I save on my bill in the first year and over the life of the system?
     As energy prices increase over time, your CEC energy cost remains fixed because you own the panels that continue to produce power, meaning your estimated savings will increase each year. The CEC estimates the following savings over the 50-year system life:
  • 1 Panel: $45 in year 1 / $7,291 over life of the system
  • 5 Panels: $223 in year 1 / $36,453 over life of the system
  • 10 Panels: $446 in year 1 / $72,906 over life of the system
  • 20 Panels: $892 in year 1 / $145,813 over life of the system
Q: When will my system have paid for itself?
     This depends on how much energy prices increase. The CEC estimates that at 5% annual energy price inflation, systems up to 6 kW will pay for themselves in 12.8 years.
Q: What is the “lifetime” of the system?
     Due to our Maintenance and Operation Program our equipment will last longer and produce more power than the average rooftop PV system. The CEC warranty for your panels covers production over 50 years!
Q: What happens to the rate at which Holy Cross credits my bill if energy prices go up?
     If Holy Cross’s rates increase your power credits will also increase proportionally. With CEC solar, Holy Cross will credit you $0.11/kWh, or 37% more than the $0.08/kWh credit for traditional solar systems. As rates increase, your power credits will remain 37% greater than the standard credited rate, which hedges against energy prices and ensures a strong payback.
Q: Can I get an annual performance report?
     Operation and maintenance reports specific to your ownership’s production will be available annually. In addition you can log on to your My Clean Energy account on the CEC website at any time and access real-time information about your system’s production, bill credits, positive environmental impact, and much more.
Q: How can customers pay for their ownership in the CEC?
     The CEC accepts cash, checks, and credit cards.