Solar energy is less expensive and better for the environment so no matter how you choose to access solar power, you can’t go wrong. To help you make an informed decision, here are a few things to consider when it comes to which option may be best or viable for you.

Owning Rooftop Solar vs. Community Solar

Electricity – generating solar panels that are mounted to a residential or commercial building. Known as a community solar farm or garden, which is a solar power installation financed by a developer and provides output credit and tax benefits its investors. Think of it as a mini private utility.
Commitment Level

High: Requires pre-qualification, upfront costs for installation, and as the owner you are responsible for maintenance of the system and roof for life.

The return on your investment is typically 7 or more years before the panels are generating a profit.

Rooftop solar systems may help or hinder a potential residential sale but would likely be of benefit when selling a commercial building.

Relatively Low: No Panels, no installation, no upfront costs. Community solar subscriptions are flexible and range from 3 to 20 years. More importantly, most include no termination fees.No encumbrances when it comes time to move.
Risk Level

High: Once your solar panels are installed on your home or commercial building’s roof, you are responsible for any repairs necessary to your roof or the solar system.

Removing a system can be costly and may require repairs to your roof. This is the responsibility of the building owner.

Low: Members of a Community Solar farm take on no risk, as they are not responsible for the upkeep, taxes or repairs of the solar farm to which they subscribe.

In almost all cases, if you relocate out of the utility zone there is no financial penalties associated with terminating your subscription.

Return on Investment
Over the course of 20 years, owning a system will likely result in a higher financial gain however, the break-even point occurs many years after installation. Savings are lower but immediate, and under some programs guaranteed.
Qualifying Factors

To qualify for a rooftop system, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be the home or building owner
  • Roof is facing south (to maximize sunlight)
  • Not be blocked by trees or other structures
  • Not have a tiled roof (or the ability to modify roof tiles for proper panel installation)

To qualify for Community Solar, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Any person who pays an electricity bill and wishes to save each month.
  • Has a desire to contribute to bettering the environment.
  • Lives within the service grid of a Community Solar farm – that also has the availability for additional members.
  • Has good credit.


Want to learn more about Community Solar?

Contact the experts, Solar On Earth – we help homeowners and businesses make the most of solar energy through community solar programs.

Call 844 SOL-CLUB (765-2582) or send an email to [email protected]