Updated 4 weeks ago

Is Nexamp community solar right for you?

Written by Joe Dametto , Edited by Zeeshan Hyder

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A 2.6 MW Nexamp solar farm located at Rockford, Illinois. Image source: Nexamp Solar

Nexamp Solar is a growing community solar provider with an irresistible pitch to consumers: you can be part of a green energy project and save you money on your energy bills, all without any upfront costs or hassle.

Key takeaways

  • Nexamp builds community solar installations that people can subscribe to and offset a portion of their electric bills

  • A subscriber gets credit for the energy their dedicated solar panels generate, which Nexamp says saves people between 10 and 15% on electricity costs
    The savings with a Nexamp subscription are less than they could be if you installed solar panels on your home

  • Nexamp community solar can be a good choice for people who can’t get home solar panels for various reasons.

  • You can go to Nexamp's website to check your availability

That’s the short version of how Nexamp works. Now let’s look a little more closely at the company’s offerings.

How does Nexamp community solar work?

According to Nexamp Solar, approximately 50% of homes cannot support rooftop solar panels. If yours is one of them, you may want to consider getting the benefits of solar by signing up with a community solar program

Community solar offers an easy way to support local clean energy and save between 10-20% on your power bills, without the need to install rooftop solar panels or sign annual contracts.

An illustration showing how power from Nexamp community solar installations goes to the grid, and then grid power comes to a home

The first three steps in the Nexamp community solar process. Image source: Nexamp Solar

Here’s how Nexamp community solar works:

  1. You subscribe to a share of a local Nexamp solar farm.

  2. The Nexamp solar farm then feeds clean power into your community’s electricity grid while earning energy credits for you.

  3. Your utility applies the Nexamp-provided energy credits to your electricity bill, reducing your electricity costs. 

  4. You then pay Nexamp for the energy credits, at a discount (i.e. you pay Nexamp slightly less than the amount your electricity bill was reduced by). 

When you sign up with Nexamp, you will be allotted space in one of their solar farms. You will be allotted a certain number of solar panels based on the size of your electricity bill. Those with larger power bills could be allotted as many as 20 panels, while those with smaller bills might only need 5-10 panels.

Nexamp Solar then generates electricity from its solar farm, which includes the solar panels they have assigned to you. The electricity generated is sold to a utility company. 

Nexamp Solar then communicates directly with the utility to let them know how much electricity ‘your’ solar panels are responsible for. Your production, called energy credits, are applied to your electricity bill, reducing the amount you have to pay your utility. 

You then have to pay Nexamp for your energy credits. The energy credits are charged to you at a discount, i.e. you pay Nexamp less than the amount you saved on your electricity bill, resulting in an overall net savings for you. 

In some states, subscribers will receive two separate bills, one from the utility detailing their energy usage, and another from Nexamp noting that month’s solar credit value. 

There are no installation or upfront costs to worry about. Furthermore, you can sign up with Nexamp while remaining with your current energy provider.  You don’t even need to switch energy providers, which makes the whole process relatively convenient. 

How much can I save with Nexamp?

According to Nexamp, on average you will save 15% on your energy usage costs. 

Let’s assume you have $100 electricity usage charges on your monthly utility bill. That amount could be eliminated by Nexamp energy credits, reducing your bill by $100. You would then pay Nexamp for the energy credits at a discounted rate, say $85. The net result is that you save $15. 

To recap, this is what your savings might look like: 

  • Your electricity usage charges are $100

  • Energy credits from Nexamp bring your usage charges down to $0.

  • You then pay Nexamp $85 for the energy credits.

  • You end up with a net savings of $15. 

Unfortunately, the energy credits you receive from Nexamp will not apply to the service/supply charges on your utility bill. Your overall energy savings will thus be less than 15%.

You could save more by installing solar panels - check cost and savings now

How much does it cost?

There is a $0 upfront cost to you. 

You will be paying a monthly bill to Nexamp. The exact amount you will have to pay to Nexamp will vary by month, depending on your usage. But Nexamp guarantees that the amount you have to pay them will always be less than your utility bill savings. 

The pros of Nexamp community solar

Is Nexamp Community Solar your best option? This depends on your personal situation and requirements. 

Nexamp offers flexibility to consumers. There is no upfront setup fee, and they don't make you sign up to a long term contract. Not only that, you can opt out of your contract at any time with no cancellation fee.  

If you are renting, planning on moving soon or you are a low to middle income consumer, community solar can be a great option for you. With no up-front cost, you can reap the benefits of renewable energy resources with no personal out of pocket expense.

Community solar is also ideal for homes where rooftop panel installation is simply not an option, whatever the reason may be.

Another added bonus of community solar is there is zero maintenance on your behalf. In a properly managed community solar system, specialist staff will be responsible for monitoring performance, thereby saving you the time and hassle. 

To recap the pros of community solar:

  • No upfront costs or cancellation fees

  • It’s great if you are renting

  • An easier option if you plan to move

  • Can help you get into the market if you are a low to middle income consumer

  • Will not affect the look of your home

  • Zero maintenance worries

The cons of Nexamp community solar

While there are definitely positives to signing up with Nexamp, there are some downsides as well.

While Nexamp mostly receives positive reviews online, there are some negative reviews by frustrated customers as well. They complain about a lack of transparency in Nexamp's billing, which makes it hard to work out what their actual savings are. They also gripe about very slow customer service which makes dealing with Nexamp difficult and frustrating.

Another disadvantage is that you won’t be eligible for the solar tax credit, which is available to you only if you have your own solar panels installed.

The savings you would make with Nexamp solar are relatively small in comparison to the potential savings you can make if you owned your own solar installation.

You don’t get the benefit of an increase in the value of your home when you install solar if you sign up with Nexamp solar.

To recap the cons of Nexamp solar:

  • Poor customer service reviews

  • Non eligibility of solar tax credits

  • Smaller potential savings compared to your own solar installation

  • No increase in the value of your home

How does community solar compare to rooftop solar?

While the use of community solar can help reduce your power usage bill by 15% or more, you can reduce your energy expenditure much further by owning your solar panels. Depending on the size of your system, you can reduce even your electricity usage charges by up to 100%.

Getting your own solar panel installation also allows you to take advantage of solar tax credits. These credits allow you to recoup the costs of the solar installation relatively quickly. If you sign up for community solar instead, you will not have access to these tax credits.

While the cost of having solar panels is a huge commitment, most people don’t have the funds available to pay for it in cash upfront. You can take advantage of the many different low-interest solar loans that are easily available.

Depending on the type of loan you are after (secured or unsecured), you can get a reasonably low interest rate. If you choose, you could also set up a long-term loan (over 20 years) and find yourself in a cash-positive situation. Check out our solar panel calculator to see how much money you stand to save.

Another great reason for installing solar is the added bonus of increasing the value of your home. A study by Zillow found that a solar installation added on average 4.1% to a property’s value. For a home valued at $500,000, that is an additional $20,500 in added value; this is an added bonus when you consider you’ll also be saving money on your electricity bills along the way.

Is Nexamp community solar the right option for you?

If a home solar installation isn’t possible for you, then Nexamp community solar is a great solution. There are no upfront costs, no locked-in long-term contracts, and instant savings with no minimal work required on your part.

However, if a home solar installation is possible, you should definitely explore this option further. Home solar will give you the greatest savings and return on investment to you over the short and long term. Check out our solar panel calculator to see how much money it will cost you and the potential savings that can be made.

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Written by Joe Dametto Content specialist

Joe Dametto is a blog author at SolarReviews. Joe has a passion for solar and hopes to guide consumers to a more sustainable future....

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