Solar power is seeing a real revolution recently as more people want to switch to cleaner energy sources. It’s no secret that the climate is in turmoil, and greenhouse gases and the use of finite resources are part of the problem.
Since the technology was advanced in the 1980s, solar panels have long since stood as the most accessible way for individual people to take their energy sourcing into their own hands. However, it’s only really been accessible for people who own property, and even then people who can afford the hefty upfront costs of installing solar panels.
Even though the average price of solar panel installation has dropped nearly 60% in the last decade, you could still be looking at $40,000 to cover your home – completely unrealistic for most homeowners.
So what’s the solution for the millions of people who rent their homes or simply have no way of saving for something like that, but still want to do their bit for the environment? Well, the answer could come in the form of companies like Nexamp.
What is Nexamp?
In 2007, two US Army veterans decided they wanted to start fighting the rising threat of climate change by founding a solar power energy company so that they could build a future in energy-providing that is “clean, simple, and accessible”.
They offer shares of local solar farms, which feed directly into the community’s electrical grid whilst earning “energy credits” for the user. Then you can purchase the energy credits at a discount, which could reduce your electricity bill by 10-20%.
This system is called Community Solar and is a concept that is finding traction among different communities that have access to a solar farm. As it’s a way for people who are unable to afford or support rooftop solar panels to get involved with clean energy and do their bit for the planet.
Instead of the clean energy going directly to homes, it’s instead funneled into the local electricity grid and so is able to benefit the entire neighborhood, rather than just individuals. You save on your electric bill if you happen to have subscribed to a portion of the farm.
Community solar farms have been a growing presence across the USA, and in 2021, there was at least one community solar farm in over 39 states, meaning that this could potentially be the next big thing in going green.
But is it actually as simple as Nexamp claims that it’s? We will explore the good and the not-so-good surrounding Nexamp and its policies.
How Does Nexamp Really Work?
Nexamp generates much clean power through their large solar farms and then sells this energy to utility companies, businesses, and municipalities. They describe themselves as a “decarbonization” company that strives to bring the power of solar energy to the people who are typically unable to switch to solar power.
Whether you’ve bought shares in the farm or not, these community solar power farms are working to send clean energy through the power lines of different communities to start a renewable energy revolution.
Solar Farm Subscription
And make green energy more accessible, even for renters and low-income families. When you buy a subscription to the solar farm, they allow you a certain amount of space based on your average annual electricity usage.
The amount of energy that your sentient of the farm generates is then translated into credits on your electricity bill. Then Nexamp bills you for these credits at a set discount after selling the energy generated by the entire farm to the local utilities.
These credits reduce your energy bill by up to 20%. In some states, you’ll get two separate bills, one from your power company and one from Nexamp that details that month’s solar credit value. In other states, you’ll still just receive one bill.
This means that you can feel confident in your ability to support the planet and use clean energy without the hassle or cost of installing solar panels or needing to move to a new area that uses solar power.
You don’t even need to switch energy providers because your energy is still coming from the same place, now it’s just renewable.
What Solar Communities Mean For Consumers?
This all sounds very good, but what does this actually look like and mean for the consumer? Well, here I can go through exactly what the process will look like if you’re thinking that a share in community solar is going to be the right move for you.
The first thing is checking that your area is eligible by putting your Zip code into their website. If it’s not, that’s a shame! But you’ll still be able to pop your contact details in so that they can add you to a mailing list and get in touch with you if and when they plan to bring a solar farm to your area.
If they’re already in your area, then all you have to do is put in your contact details and your utility bill number, and they’ll be able to send you a community solar agreement based on your typical electricity usage.
The agreement will be completely customized to you, and how big of a portion of the farm you’ll need.
Once you’ve sorted the agreement, you’ll start seeing the discount applied to your energy bills pretty quickly, and if you’re in certain states, you’ll start receiving two bills, one from your utility provider and the other from Nexamp themselves.
What Do The Nexamp Reviews Say?
This is where Nexamp’s efficiency starts to break down, as unfortunately, there are quite a lot of negative reviews. The majority of the time, these reviews are complaining about the lack of clarity surrounding the bills.
People state that understanding the bills can be pretty difficult, and that understanding what it’s exactly that you’re paying for and where the money is changing hands can be frustrating and complex.
Some people have even stated that they don’t think that they’ve seen any discounts at all, which isn’t what the company claim to give. These issues seem to have been acknowledged and resolved by the company.
But it’s definitely something to bear in mind if you’re looking into the company that a lot of people seem to find the billing process confusing and that you might need to contact the customer service team if you happen to struggle to understand it all.
Luckily, for every negative review, there are also lots of positive reviews that claim the service was simple and straightforward. Reviewers appreciate not needing to do anything to their house, and not needing to switch energy providers.
All you need to do is sign up and you’ll the benefits (even if understanding the benefits can be a bit tricky).
In the end, any company that is hoping to bring renewable energy to the masses at least has its heart in the right place. Over 50% of homes in the USA are completely unable to support individual solar panels and even more than that is completely unable to afford solar panels.
This creates a massive deficit in people that may be wanting to go green or use renewable energy but simply can’t.
For these people, buying shares in a community solar farm is going to be a great way to save money and feel as though they’ve done their bit for the environment as well.
Although they could benefit from streamlining the billing process, Nexamp is certainly doing its best to bring renewable energy to a larger amount of people.
Solar Panel Frequently Asked Questions
How Does Solar Power Work?
Solar panels work by absorbing sunlight through photovoltaic (PV) cells, which then makes the electrons within start moving so quickly that it generates an electric current that special wires can pick up.
The energy is then converted into direct current (DC) energy. This DC energy then passes through an inverter which changes the DC energy into an alternating current (AC) which is the kind of electricity used by most home appliances.
This AC energy then makes its way around your home, powering everything that needs to be powered.
A solar farm does this on a much larger scale than personal rooftop solar panels, and instead of feeding right into your home, they funnel energy right to the area’s local power grid.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Solar Power?
The only real disadvantage that you come across whilst using solar power is the fact that it can be pretty unreliable. If you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight or sees a lot of bad weather, then you’re not going to get as much power as someone who lives in a really sunny area.
Although there are solar panels that claim to be able to function even in low-light environments, they’re never going to be as effective.
This is a disadvantage, and the reason that more areas need to adopt hydroelectric and wind power farms in order to support communities that can’t benefit from solar panels.