Simple Solar From Cedar Falls Utilities — Crowdfunded Community Solar

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A new community solar energy program was somewhat recently unveiled by Cedar Falls Utilities — a utility company based out of Cedar Falls, Iowa — that’ll see the company’s customers given the option to invest into the creation of a solar energy installation, and thereby receive a share of the electricity produced by the installation.

The new program — which has been dubbed “Simple Solar” — is, as the name implies, a fairly simple one; one simply choses to buy a share (or more than one) in the Cedar Falls Utilities Simple Solar program for $399 (this number may go down based on demand), and is then allotted a share of future electricity generation. (Thanks to a CleanTechnica reader for the tip.)

CFU simple solar

Worth noting here is that the cost of a share can be spread out across 12 months, via a monthly installment plan. Each share is currently expected to generate roughly 2.5% of an average home’s annual electricity usage. Those who participate in the program will see a credit on their bill from the utility company every month proportionate to the number of shares purchased by the receiver of the bill.

As mentioned above, if customer interest ends up being fairly strong, then the price of a share is expected to be reduced.

Overall, the program seems to be a good one to my eyes — giving those who live in apartments (or elsewhere where the installation of a home solar energy system doesn’t make sense) the option of “going solar.” The cost of maintenance is, of course, offset as well, since this is taken care of by the utility company rather than by you — all that you have to do is purchase a share of two.

The monthly credits for the share purchases will be paid out for a period of 20 years, reportedly. By the utility company’s estimates, the payback period for the shares is roughly 15 years. It should be stated here that a buyout option is available for those who move out of the company’s service range.

More can be found here.

Image Credit: Cedar Falls Utilities

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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