Please click to expand each section.
What is the Alliant Energy® Community Solar program?
Alliant Energy® Community Solar program brings together people with a common interest in powering their homes and businesses with solar energy. Not every location is ideal for solar panels, nor is it always easy to install your own. Our community solar program was established to help make solar simple and accessible for everyone. For the vast majority of our customers, as an Alliant Energy customer, you can buy blocks of solar to cover up to 100% of your energy bill. Large commercial or industrial customers may be limited based upon the size of the facility and the availability of blocks.
With the Alliant Energy® Community Solar program, Alliant Energy builds, owns, and maintains a dedicated solar site on behalf of the participating subscribers. The renewable energy produced by the solar site is delivered to the grid, where Alliant Energy manages the sale of the energy on the market. All the energy credit is then passed back to all participating subscribers for the life of the facility.
What are solar blocks?
Solar blocks are 250-watt increments of the 1-megawatt community solar facility. Customers subscribe to blocks allowable per subscriber in the nearest 250-watt increment that meets, not exceeding, their annual average usage. The customer’s most recent twelve months of electric energy consumption will be used to determine their average annual usage. If this amount is not representative of the predicted usage, or if the data is not available, then Alliant Energy can provide an estimate.
When combined with specific other tariff offerings, the customer’s subscription may not exceed 100% of the average annual usage outlined in the Alliant Energy® Community Solar Terms & Conditions.
How did you determine the price? Why is it an upfront fee?
The solar project is a self-funded community program where the subscription fee per solar block is created based on the facility’s actual costs; the land, facility installation, operating costs, and marketing. Using Alliant Energy resources, we work with our developers to determine the estimated design, location, and costs. These costs are then divided between the 4,000 solar blocks of a 1 MW solar facility.
The launch of the marketing informs and asks for customer commitment to a project. The upfront subscription fees are a necessary customer investment to complete the construction. Typically, construction will commence once 75% of the solar blocks have been claimed. Upfront payment also enables customers to take advantage of the solar bill credits as soon as the facility becomes operational.
We offer a monthly payment plan for participants. However, participating subscribers will not receive the solar bill credit until they pay in full.
Where is the Alliant Energy® Community Solar – Fond du Lac site located?
Northwest of 1820 S. Hickory Street, Fond du Lac, WI. Location runs adjacent to the N Hwy 151 and Hickory Road off-ramp.
How much electricity is will be produced at the Fond du Lac site and when will it be in operation?
Expected annual solar production: 1,722 MWh
Expected solar production over the life of the 20-year program: approximately 32,850 MWh
The facility is expected to be fully constructed and in operation by the end of 2021.
Who can participate in community solar?
This program is open to all Wisconsin Alliant Energy electric customers who choose to offset their electric bills through a subscription to the Alliant Energy® Community Solar program.
What if I’m on a time of use program, such as ‘Time of Day’ or ‘Nights and Weekends?’
There will be a separate service agreement on your bill for Community Solar’s monthly kWh generated. Because Community Solar credits are separate, customers can be on any other rate or budget bill.
Are participants paying to own part of the solar array?
No. Participants do not own the solar array. This program provides an opportunity for the participant to offset their electric bills through a subscription to the Alliant Energy® Community Solar Program instead of direct ownership of a solar installation.
Is the power delivered directly to the homes or businesses of participants?
The energy generated is distributed onto the Alliant Energy power grid. It offsets electricity that would have been generated by fossil fuels and other sources.
How does community solar compare to installing a private solar system?
The Alliant Energy® Community Solar program allows you to invest in solar energy with others in your community. All costs of the facility installation are shared. The program gives you the ability to invest upfront at an amount that works for your budget and receive a bill credit from a facility located in your geographic area.
Compare this program with a private system: The average system size for individuals installing solar panels on a home is 5kw to 15kw. To build a private system, you will need to have a contract with independent solar installers for the total installation cost. For 10kw of panels, on average, the installation and system together can run between $30,000 and $40,000, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy before tax credits and incentives. You and the installer can agree upon a payment schedule with multiple years of monthly payments while you may still have an electric bill.
Why is solar power more expensive today? I thought the energy from the sun was free.
The sun's energy is free, but the there is a cost of equipment used to convert that free energy into usable electric energy. The community solar facility’s actual costs include the land, facility installation, operating costs, and marketing.
What’s the difference between Alliant Energy Community Solar and Second Nature? Can I participate in both?
You are buying solar blocks of production for a given site for 20 years with community solar. Second Nature, you are buying from a mix of renewable energy sources dedicated to Second Nature, which may change over time along with the premium price. Billing will allow for participation in both, but customers are limited total participation to 100% of their usage.
How does Community Solar fit into Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint?
The subscriptions directly fund the construction of the solar farm, so it is an additive part of the Clean Energy Blueprint that customers can achieve their own green goals.
Can customers have community solar in addition to solar at their own home?
Yes, but customers are only able to purchase solar blocks based on their Alliant Energy electric usage (annual kWh).
How many solar blocks can I purchase?
You determine how green do you want to be. You can purchase a single solar block or the maximum of solar blocks that do not exceed your average annual kWh or anywhere in between. There are 4,000 solar blocks in the 1 MW solar facility. 25% of the facility will be available specifically for residential customers (1,000 blocks) and no single subscriber may have more than 60% of the solar blocks available (2,400 blocks).We have created a calculator to help you determine how many blocks equal to your energy offset goals. Visit alliantenergy.com/FDLsolar to calculate the number of 250-watt blocks you’d like to purchase.
Before Community Solar Subscribers can receive bill credits, all upfront administration and subscription fees must be paid in full. Subscribers must pay the calculated upfront subscription fee of $375.00 per solar block.
- Administration Fee is a one-time, upfront non-refundable administrative fee of $25.00
- Subscription Fee is the calculated upfront subscription fee of $375.00 per solar block
- Full Payment Option - Besides the administrative fee, the full upfront subscription fee will be billed to the subscriber in the preceding month.
- Monthly Payment Option - If the customer does not want to pay the full upfront subscription fee, they may choose a monthly payment option.
Note: Subscribers will not be able to receive the solar bill credit until they pay in full and the facility is operational.
How do I sign up?
The Alliant Energy® Community Solar program uses an online residential/business subscription form to subscribe. Participants will have to agree to Terms and Conditions to become enrolled in the Community Solar program.
Once information is received, our staff will confirm your eligibility. If there are any questions, you will be contacted by an Alliant Energy representative. Alliant Energy will use the first-come, first-served approach to processing applications and assign each participating subscriber to an Alliant Energy Community Solar Facility. In the event available capacity is limited, Alliant Energy may give preference to Subscriptions from customers located in the same region as an Alliant Energy Community Solar Facility is located.
With a one-time $25 administration fee, solar block subscription fees will be sent separately from your monthly electric statement.
Community solar credits will appear on your electric bill once the solar site has been operational for one month. The site is currently on schedule to be active in late 2021.
What happens once the project is fully subscribed?
If the maximum subscription capacity is met (3,000 blocks for businesses and 1,000 blocks for residents) you may be added to a waitlist. As blocks come available after COD due to subscribers canceling or forfeiture, customers will be contacted for the opportunity to subscribe.
When a new Community Solar facility is available, any remaining subscribers on the waitlist will be offered the opportunity to subscribe.
How do I find my kWh?
This how-to guide will help you find your kWh in My Account.
EXAMPLES: Fond du Lac area
*includes Administration and Subscription Fees
**amount includes degradation over the 20 year program
Subscriptions after the first year of COD
Suppose there are subscriptions available after the first year that the facility is in service. In that case, the upfront subscription fee will be reduced by a fraction in proportion to how much of the facility's expected useful life has already passed. For example, suppose a customer subscribes in the second year. In that case, they will pay 95 percent of the full subscription fee because it is estimated that they will receive 95 percent of the facility's bill credit over the next 19 years.
Are my bill credits annually or monthly? When will I start receiving bill credits?
When a participating subscriber has paid the upfront subscription fees, and once the solar facility is operational, you will receive monthly credits. Bill credits will be based on the previous month's solar production and applied proportionately to your electric bill.
How is the bill credit calculated?
There are two critical parts to determining a subscriber's bill credit 1) the community solar facility's energy production and 2) solar production credit rates.
Community Solar facility energy production
Depending on the number of blocks subscribed by a customer, Alliant Energy allocates that percentage of the kW capacity to the total monthly amount of the kWh energy produced by the Alliant Energy Community Solar Facility.
Example to show changes in solar production from month to month (based on Fond du Lac Community Solar system)
Solar production credit rates
Solar production credit rates are based on a combination of the marginal cost of energy in the wholesale market and production capacity costs, as calculated in a cost-of-service study.
For Wisconsin - the total minimum credits would begin at $0.063/kWh for residential customers and $0.056/kWh for non-residential customers. Alliant Energy conducts a cost-of-service study annually to determine if credits increase or remain the same.
Can I monitor the solar project’s energy production over time?
In addition to the credit on your electric bill based on your number of solar blocks, we will have production updates on alliantenergy.com/FDLsolar.
What will be the solar payback period?
The estimated payback period for residential subscribers is 14 years, and for non-residential subscribers is 16 years.
How will the credit show on my bill?
Subscribers continue to pay their utility bills in the same way as before enrollment in the program. The credit amount will reduce your overall monthly electric bill.
What happens if the bill credit is more than my bill?
Suppose the solar production bill credit exceeds the amount owed any billing period. In that case, the excess portion of the solar production credit will be carried forward to your next month's bill.
What about Renewable Energy Credits?
As a benefit, subscribers may elect to claim Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) under this program. The RECs associated with the Alliant Energy Community Solar Facility will be retired on behalf of all subscribers on an annual basis and tracked in the Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (MRETS). Subscribers will be notified annually, with information on the number of RECs retired.
Can I power my business using 100% renewable energy?
Yes, on an annual basis, but monthly solar credits will not match each month.
What if I move?
If you move to a different location in the same state and remain an Alliant Energy electric customer, you can keep your solar blocks and continue to receive a bill credit. If you move outside of the Alliant Energy service area, there are several options:
- Transfer your solar blocks to the new owner, or
- Transfer to an extended family member in the same service area, or
- Give the solar blocks to a local non-profit as a gift, or
- Request a pro-rated subscription refund
The original subscriber must notify Alliant Energy within 90 days of no longer being a customer of your address, as described in the Terms & Conditions. After 90 days, a subscriber’s Community Solar contract will be considered canceled and not eligible for a refund of the pro-rata share. Contact Alliant Energy Customer Support to assist with any changes.
What if the participating subscriber no longer resides at their premise?
If a subscriber is no longer a customer of Alliant Energy for other reasons than moving (e.g., death), the subscription will be canceled and receive a pro-rated refund.
What if I want to cancel and no longer participate in the program?
A participating subscriber, who has paid for their full subscription, can cancel their subscription and receive a refund of a pro-rata share of the upfront subscription fee for only the following conditions:
- The subscriber is moving or relocating outside Alliant Energy’s service territory, or
- The subscriber is ceasing to be a customer of Alliant Energy for other reasons, or
- For reasons that are outside the control of the subscriber (referred to as a force majeure event in the terms and conditions)
The solar project is a self-funded community program where the upfront subscription fees are used to pay for the facility’s land, installation, operating costs, and marketing. For this reason, cancellations are limited to established situations.
Subscribers who do not meet the cancellation criteria will not be able to receive a refund.
Similar to the transfer criteria, the original subscriber must notify Alliant Energy within 90 days of no longer being a customer to their original address, as described in the community solar terms & conditions. After 90 days, a subscriber’s Community Solar contract will be considered canceled and not eligible for a refund of the pro-rata share.
Alliant Energy has a facility maintenance and repair budget built into the program to cover repairs. It is possible generation could be reduced in a given month until repairs are completed.