By Kristie Snyder, GreenStar Staff

GreenStar is delighted to offer a new benefit for Co-op owners — one that will benefit the Co-op in its expansion as well. Delaware River Solar, based in Sullivan County, NY, is offering Co-op owners the chance to enroll in a community solar program.

Good for owners, good for the Co-op, good for the Earth!

Signing up with DRS allows Co-op owners to purchase electricity at a 10% discount from a local solar farm, in Dryden, Owego, or other locations as additional farms are built to meet demand. For every participant enrolled, the Co-op will receive $250 from DRS to be put toward fundraising efforts for the new West End store. Even better, if 1,200 owners enroll, that amount jumps to $350. As a thank-you bonus, every Co-op owner approved for the program will receive a $50 GreenStar gift card.

Local Clean Energy for Everyone

So what is community solar? It’s a program that allows community residents to meet their power needs by buying green electricity generated by a local solar farm. The solar farm’s output is sent directly into the local grid, producing bill credits that are distributed to members each month on their electric bills — thus reducing their electricity charges. No sunny roof? No problem. Community solar allows those without the space or ability to install rooftop panels — this includes renters! — to source their power from the sun, reducing carbon emissions and saving money at the same time.

GreenStar Goes 100% Solar!

GreenStar itself will be buying into the DRS solar farm. While the Co-op has owned a small solar farm in Danby since 2016, the output only meets about 10% of our power needs. GreenStar will soon source the remainder of its electricity needs from DRS, allowing the Co-op to go fully solar while receiving a 5% discount on power costs.
General Manager Brandon Kane is enthusiastic about the opportunity for owners to save money on their own electric needs while helping the Co-op raise funds for its impending expansion. He sees it as a significant win-win for all concerned. “DRS’s mission aligns with our values, and this program coincides perfectly with our expansion fundraising,” he said.

Looking to learn more or sign up? Read the FAQs below, stop by the store to speak with a DRS representative during February, or click here.

DRS Community Solar FAQs

How much can I save?
A DRS community solar subscription will save you 10% off your electric rate. There are no sign-up fees, and you can cancel from the program at any time with 60 days’ notice.

Can I participate if I have Budget Billing with NYSEG?
Customers should contact NYSEG to remove Budget Billing prior to enrolling. With Budget Billing, NYSEG reconciles customer accounts at the end of the annual cycle, but with community solar, credits need to be applied to the customer’s bill every month. This does not work if Budget Billing is in place.

How do I see my savings?
The solar project generates electricity throughout the year. Each month, you’ll receive your portion of the electricity in the form of bill credits that will offset charges on your electric bill. After the credits offset your electric bill, you pay DRS for those credits at a 10% discount.

Do I still get power from the utility?
Yes. Your current electric service will not be interrupted, and you will still receive your electricity from the utility as you do now.

Does community solar benefit the local communities?
Yes! In addition to providing local jobs and savings on community members’ electricity bills, DRS’s projects benefit local communities in numerous ways — including increased tax revenue, economic enrichment, preservation of farmland, and much more. Community solar reduces the amount of energy generated from coal and natural gas plants, reducing our overall carbon footprint and improving local air quality and health. In more specific terms, the carbon emissions reduction is the equivalent, for each participant in community solar, of no longer driving a car for the life of the project — 20-30 years!

Who can participate in community solar?
Homeowners, renters, nonprofits, and small businesses with an active NYSEG account (residential and non-demand small commercial) can participate. People who have their own solar installation on their property (grid-tied) are not eligible.