Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about Community Solar Gardens? Below we've attempted to answer the most common questions we get. If you still have any concerns, fill out the form below. Or, give us a call at 612-345-7188


How do I become a member of a community solar garden?

Becoming a member is easy. To start, fill out the form here, and then a Novel team member will contact you to help finish the application process and answer any questions you may have. Next, we'll help you fill out and electronically sign a few documents to reserve your spot in the garden.

Novel will follow up to confirm when you're signed up, review monthly credit processing, and you'll receive a personalized login to an online solar subscription account.

Why should I join a community solar garden?

You should join a community solar garden if you want to save money, are looking to make a positive environmental impact, and help transition to a sustainable energy future without worry or hassle! Also, you are supporting local jobs and landowners in your area that are hosting these gardens. Novel is Minnesota-owned and operated, employs over 150 people in Minnesota, and is growing rapidly.

What is a community solar garden?

A Community Solar Garden (CSG) is a large solar array that feeds solar-generated electricity into a power grid. Subscribers to the CSG earn credits to their utility bill even though the CSG is not located on their property. When you subscribe to a CSG, you will immediately be supporting 100% clean energy while cutting your electricity costs by approximately 10%.

Will my utility provider change?

As a subscriber, you will experience no change in how you receive your electricity.

What's the catch?

There is no catch! You can directly support clean energy while saving money on your electricity. The process is simple, one month you get a credit on your utility bill, the next month you pay for those credits at a ~10% discount. Fortunately, all of this is done electronically and can be set up automatically to make it as easy as possible.

It seems to good to be true – how is it free?

It is true and it is free! You are guaranteed savings. Each month you will receive a bill credit from Xcel based on the total kwh’s your % of the garden produced for that month. (The bill credits are published and they are guaranteed for the duration of the program.) The next month you will pay the solar garden operator (Novel Energy Solutions) $.01/kWh less than the value of your bill credit for that same amount of energy – guaranteeing savings! You also have no ownership, no hassle, or risk in the garden. It is a win-win for everyone!

Do I need to put anything on my roof?

No! In a nutshell, community solar offers a way for virtually anyone to go solar without installing solar panels on their roof or their property. You get all of the benefits of clean energy without having to install anything at your home, property, or business.


How much money will I save?

Your savings are equal to the difference between the bill credits you receive from your utility and the payments you make to Novel. We don't know the exact amount you'll save, but we estimate the energy production and corresponding bill credits to give you an idea of what to expect. Actual savings will vary based on various factors, including actual weather conditions and how fast the utility’s rates increase each year. A subscription for the average household using 12,500 kWh can save an estimated $125 annually.

How does it work?

When you join a community solar garden, you'll get a share of a big project to meet your energy needs, based on your annual kWh energy use. Each month as your share produces electricity, the amount of electricity generated is put on your utility bill in the form of a credit, deducting it from the amount you'd owe to your utility. Then, instead of paying the utility company, you pay the renewable energy project at a discounted rate, saving you money and directly supporting a local clean energy project.

If it costs nothing to sign up, why do I put in payment information?

While there is no cost to sign up, once your solar garden starts generating electricity, you will receive a credit on your utility bill reducing your typical monthly payment. You then pay Novel Energy for those credits at a discounted rate instead of paying your utility. Let's use a good example: Nick joined a community solar garden and is excited to start saving on his monthly utility bill. The solar project started generating energy on November 1, and on Nick’s December utility bill, he saw a bill credit of $50. At the end of December, Nick will pay $45 to the project (Novel) for the value of his $50 credit, saving 10%!

How much does it cost to sign up?

It costs nothing to join or no annual fees. You'll save money on your electricity bill!

What happens if a year is very cloudy or energy production is low?

You only pay for the energy that is produced. This means that if production is low, you may not save as much money as expected, but you are not harmed financially. This structure incentivizes us to use quality materials and to maintain the solar garden properly. Keep in mind that not all years will produce the same amount of energy. Some years may have less energy, and some years may produce more, but as long as the garden is producing energy you are saving money!


What if I want to cancel?

Novel has very flexible terms, so give us proper notice, and once we find a replacement subscriber, you can cancel at any time without penalty.

What if I move?

Your solar subscription can be transferred to your new residence. Notify us that you are moving, and we will work with your utility company to update your subscription information.

What happens if I move and am no longer eligible?

You can either transfer or terminate your subscription agreement. We require two months' notice to transfer or cancel your subscription.


Where do I find my premise number?

Your premise number can be found on pg 2 of your monthly utility bill under the ‘Electricity Service Details’ summary.

Where can I find my solar credits on my utility bill?

Solar credits will be posted to your utility account monthly and will detail the kilowatt hours of energy generated in the garden on your behalf. The solar credit will be applied to the total bill amount that is due.

How do the payments work?

Each month, Xcel Energy will issue credits on your utility bill for your subscription’s kilowatt hour (kWh) production. Your subscription payment to Novel will based on the same monthly kWh production and is a guaranteed $0.01/kWh discount. Your savings is equal to the difference between the bill credits Xcel applies to your electric bill and the subscription payments you make to Novel. The average household saves ~10% on their electricity costs.