SolarShares frequently asked questions
Owning your own solar electricity system may be too costly or impractical for your situation. And for renters and many condo owners, it's not even an option. But with SolarShares®, everyone can get electricity from the sun without the responsibilities or costs of ownership. Members can participate at levels beginning at $10.75 per month for a 0.5kW system (typically, those with smaller monthly bills). After your monthly fee, the amount of power generated by your share shows as a credit on your bill – expected to average about $5 a month. And that offsets the amount you pay for electricity you normally receive. Use the SolarShares Estimator to see the options that work best for you.
How does SolarShares affect my bill?
You pay a flat monthly fee to subscribe to SolarShares. The fee is based upon your historical energy use and the share size you select.
You will receive energy credits to your bill for the amount of solar power your SolarShare generates. Both the flat monthly fee and the energy credits from the solar power will be combined on your SMUD bill.
I am a renter, live in a condo, or live in a multi-family building. Can I join SolarShares?
Yes. Since the solar panels are located on a local "solar farm" in Sacramento County, you don't have to own your home to participate. And if you do own your own home, you're still eligible to join. That's great for homeowners whose homes are shaded by trees or whose rooftops are not suitable to install a solar electric system.
What happens if I move?
If you stay within SMUD territory, you can take SolarShares with you.
Sunlight is free. Why should I have to pay for solar energy?
Equipment used to convert sunlight into electricity is expensive. SolarShares allows you use solar energy for a reasonable monthly fee and avoid large upfront costs for a rooftop system.
How much will SolarShares cost me?
While you will pay a fixed monthly program fee, the offset to your bill will vary each month, according to the season. Your greatest benefit will be on long summer days, when solar output is highest. These are days when you typically pay more for electricity due to high cooling costs. A residential customer with average usage of 9,300 kWh per year would see about a 9 percent increase in their bills over a 12-month period for a 1-kW system.
I was quoted an average increase to my SMUD bill. Why is the impact to my bill different this month compared to last month?
To participate in SolarShares, you will pay a fixed monthly fee depending on the size of your system. Since your SolarShares subscription performs just like a rooftop system, it produces more energy in sunny months than in winter months. Your benefit is greater in summer than in winter. Use the SolarShares Estimator to see the options that work best for you.
Why is my neighbor paying a different fee for SolarShares?
A number of factors determine what you will pay for participating in SolarShares: your energy usage, the time when you use it, and the size system you choose. Your neighbor likely has a different power profile and uses energy differently.
How much energy does SMUD's SolarShares "solar farm" generate?
The SolarShares system is 1MW, and is estimated produce 1,736,402 kWh per year. Given that solar is clean energy, the corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is equivalent to planting 307 acres of pine trees.
What's the difference between Greenergy® and SolarShares?
Both help support renewable power and reduce environmental impacts caused by traditional power sources. They differ in these respects:
- SolarShares is 100% solar generation, where Greenergy is a mix of different types of renewable energy resources, such as wind, water and sun.
- SolarShares is 100% local – the "solar farm" is located in the SMUD service area, yielding local environmental benefits.
- As with owning a solar electric system, you will see a credit on your SMUD bill for the amount of solar energy generated by your SolarShares each month. The amount of solar electricity you get each month depends upon how much the sun shines – more in the summer, less in the winter.
- Your fixed monthly fee for SolarShares will never increase for as long as you are a SMUD customer and remain a member.
Can I cancel at any time?
Because the sun shines more in the summer and less in the winter, we ask that you stay on the program for a full year to get the true experience of having a solar electric system. After the first year, you can cancel at any time. If you wish to cancel prior to the first12 months, you will be charged a $100 fee.