Community Solar & Virtual Net Metering

As an affordable, clean source of energy, solar panels have been rapidly increasing in popularity. However, not everyone has the resources to establish solar power on their own property. Renters, homeowners with shaded property, and even those with stringent HOA guidelines can find themselves limited when it comes to solar power. Community solar installations and virtual net metering offer solutions to these challenges and more!



What is Community Solar?

Community solar installations—also known as community solar gardens and community solar projects—allow individuals and businesses to access the benefits of solar power that they could not achieve on their own. Community solar installations involve the placement of a solar array on unused land or property with ideal conditions. In Illinois, these large arrays are up to 2 Megawatts (MW) in size and contain a multitude of individual solar panels.
Community solar participants, also commonly called subscribers, contract for a portion of the solar array to supply power for their home, office, school, etc. These portions can be a small fraction of the overall kilowatt-hour (kWh) output of the community solar project or as large as 40% for a single subscriber.
In Illinois, the electricity market is deregulated and consumers can choose their power from a 3rd party power provider, and can therefore procure power from a community solar plant. Through a process known as virtual net metering, power generated by the community solar plant is metered and credited towards the energy supply portion of the subscribers’ electric bills.


What is Virtual Net Metering?

Virtual net metering allows subscribers to accrue credit for energy production commensurate to their percentage subscription in the community solar project. Community solar credits are issued by the utility company for solar energy produced by the subscriber’s portion of project. Through virtual net metering, energy production is calculated based on the fraction of the array that is included in the subscriber’s contract, and a one-to-one credit is issued on the monthly utility bill:

  1. The community solar installation produces solar power at a remote location
  2. Solar power production is calculated and converted to virtual net metering credits
  3. Credits are applied to the monthly utility bill of the subscriber
  4. Savings and green energy increase


Interested in adding a community solar installation on your property?

Are you a landowner with nearby access to Ameren distribution lines? If so, your property may be a good host site for a community solar development. As a landowner, you can receive attractive long-term rent payments by leasing your ground for community solar development. In addition to hosting a community solar project you can potentially subscribe to up to 40% of the project and offset your power needs in lieu of connecting a solar array directly to your home, farm, school, business or other property type.
Contact us today to discuss community solar feasibility for your site.


Ready to subscribe to a local Community Solar Garden?

If you’re interested in procuring clean solar electricity at a lower price than you may already pay, contact Tick Tock Energy to discuss how you can participate. Our team of solar power specialists will connect you with a community solar program that meets your unique power needs.

Newsletter Sign Up