Perch Energy plans to enter Rochester-area market

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Residents of Greater Rochester who want to help the climate or reduce their electricity bills may soon have another community solar option.

Perch Energy, a Boston-based community solar service provider, plans to enter the Rochester-area market next year. 

Founded in 2016, Perch has approximately 45 employees who work in Boston, New York and Florida, and partners with solar farms in Maine, Massachusetts, and other states with laws that support community solar ventures. These laws allow for credits to be earned by subscribers to solar farms and represented through discounted utility bills.

“We’re considered one of the top community solar servicers to date, so we have quite a few projects that we are managing for our clients (who are) the ones who own and build the solar farms across multiple states,” says Bruce Stewart, founder and CEO of Perch Energy.

Bruce Stewart

While the company’s partners construct new solar farms in these states, Perch Energy recruits and facilitates a customer base, handling billing and collection as well as offering financial and climate-friendly benefits. For a given area to be viable, its governing state must first have clean energy credits that incentivize the building of solar farms.

Individuals and households can subscribe at no cost to a local solar farm in their area managed by Perch Energy or another third party, Stewart says. These farms are connected to local utility companies, reducing the overall dependence on fossil fuels with the use of solar energy.

Subscribers do not receive energy directly from the solar farm; instead, subscriptions support operation of the farm, which produces clean energy for the overall electric grid.

Perch Energy estimates customer savings on electricity costs of 5 percent to 15 percent, though this varies by area. 

In New York, Perch integrates with the NYSEG electric grid and utility firms to connect customers with solar farms. In total, Perch Energy partners with 23 solar farms.

“We’ve been quite pleased with (the) number of projects that we’re selling and the response from consumers,” he says.

Perch currently partners with two NYSEG solar farms, with 14 on National Grid and seven on Consolidated Edison, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. In March 2025, a new solar farm in Romulus is expected to go online with access to neighboring residents in Greater Rochester.

“We’ve got projects coming up in the Rochester area, (and) all throughout NYSEG and National Grid, which are the utilities in that area,” Stewart says.

Stewart emphasizes Perch Energy’s focus on community education as a means of generating interest. He believes many people don’t subscribe to existing solar projects simply because they don’t know enough about them.

“Not everybody wakes up in the morning and goes, ‘Hey, today’s the day I’m going to go sign up for community solar.’ They may not even know what it is. Education awareness, then, has become an integral part of Perch Energy’s mission,” he says. “It’s the bedrock of what we do.”

Typically, financial incentives promoted by Perch Energy serve as a means to gain customers.

New and existing customers can learn more about the community solar platform, their potential savings, and other questions through the firm’s extensive documentation online. The information covers solar farms, how they help the environment, and how consumers can save money with Perch Energy.

The cost difference between community solar projects and rooftop solar works in Perch Energy’s favor, he says.

“If you’re a renter, that’s not available to you,” Stewart explains. “You don’t own the roof. … There’s a lot of businesses that are also renters and that they don’t control and own the roof. 

“And there’s a lot of homeowners who do own it (and) business owners that do own the facilities,” he adds. “(But) they can’t quite afford it or don’t have the right roof sizes to be able to accommodate (rooftop solar).”

The advantage of community solar farms, he says, is that the cost of subscription and maintenance does not fall on the individual. The ability for consumers to subscribe at no cost and benefit from these solar farms is due to the state-level incentives that prioritize renewable energy—making companies like Perch Energy largely reliant on states with clean energy incentives as a foundation for their platform. 

“It’s because the state of New York, for instance, wants to incentivize and encourage the ability for the underlying grid in New York to increasingly be a higher percent of renewable generation to support the electricity demand and growth now and through the future,” Stewart says. 

“When you do this, you are actually subscribing to and helping fund the investment in that new renewable (energy),” he adds. “(Customers also) love the fact that you get savings too. … (And) it’s available for all people to subscribe to: businesses, residential customers, tenants, you know, low, medium income, you name it.”

Narm Nathan is a Rochester Beacon intern, a senior at the University of Rochester and a member of the Beacon Oasis Project’s inaugural cohort. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

One thought on “Perch Energy plans to enter Rochester-area market

  1. Thank you to Narm Nathan for the great article about community solar programs, specifically Perch Energy. As a renter I was approached a couple of months ago by another community solar broker and wondered if it was a scam. Getting Narm Nathan’s explanation in a succinct, informative articles is a great example of the power and value of local and solution focused journalism.

    This article is a great example of the benefits of the Oasis project.

    Good work and thank you.

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