When you think of solar power, you might think of heavy, expensive solar panels collecting energy from a rooftop. But Nelnet Renewable Energy wants to spread the word that with community solar, the power of the sun is for everyone.

What is community solar?

Community solar power is energy generated from solar projects. Solar projects are collections of solar panels that supply electricity to local power grids that provide energy to entire regions of homes and businesses. Community solar projects bring the benefits of renewable solar power to members of a community who may not be able (or who prefer not) to install solar panels where they live or work.

People interested in participating in community solar can subscribe to a local solar project. Then, part of their normal energy usage is covered by the energy generated by the solar project. Subscribers see a cost savings on their energy bill, which can be as much as 10%. They can also rest easy knowing they’re doing their part to help the environment, since solar energy does not produce greenhouse gases or contribute to air or water pollution like other energy sources.

Why community solar?

Since 2018, Nelnet has funded or committed to fund over $167 million to build solar energy projects via tax equity financing. These projects currently consist of 86 sites, generating over 312,000 megawatt hours per year in renewable energy. That’s why as one of Nelnet’s newest business lines, Nelnet Renewable Energy is a perfect fit for supporting renewable energy solutions.

Nelnet Renewable Energy understands the importance of making renewable and clean energy accessible to everyone in our communities — for homeowners, renters, businesses, non-profits, and municipalities, just to name a few. Nelnet Renewable Energy reflects Nelnet’s dedication to service by providing equal community solar access to areas across the country, so everyone can experience the benefits of solar energy.

“Green is more than just our corporate color,” stated Jeff Noordhoek, chief executive officer of Nelnet. “It’s our commitment to the future. With Nelnet Renewable Energy, we have an opportunity to play a vital role in the growth of renewable energy through funding solar energy projects and providing subscriber acquisition and management services for the community solar developers with whom we partner. Community solar is an exciting area of growth for investors and developers, and it’s a big win for the residents and business owners who previously were unable to support renewable energy use. Solar energy use is great for the environment, so being part of that tremendous growth is rewarding.”

How does it work?

When residents or businesses are ready to subscribe to a local community solar project, Nelnet Renewable Energy guides them through three simple steps.

  1. Search: Customers enter their ZIP code, county, and utility provider. Then, Nelnet Renewable Energy matches them with an available solar project in their area.
  2. Subscribe: Once Nelnet Renewable Energy identifies a project, customers can subscribe and set up their account in just five minutes.
  3. Save: Once renewable energy from the local project is flowing to customers’ local power grid, they receive solar credits on their utility bill. These energy credits help cover their monthly payment. They receive a bill from Nelnet Renewable Energy for electricity used at a discounted rate.

Want to learn more about community solar with Nelnet Renewable Energy? Check out the available solar projects, and keep an eye out for exciting new developments. If you’re ready to see what makes life at Nelnet so sunny, check out our available opportunities to join the Nelnet family!