Don’t like paying for electricity? Here’s an interesting angle.

With “community solar”, instead of putting a solar panel on your house, you buy a panel in a pool and then the production is credited to you. The company, Arcadia Solar, does this as a business and makes it available nationwide.

The proposition is as follows. You spend $100 today. You then receive about $1 a month for 120 months in credits on your utility bill. If you run the numbers, this works out to about 3.8% per year which is decent for an investment that is basically an unavoidable cost.

Here’s where it gets weird.

Normally, you’d have to pay income taxes on it. However, you’re not receiving cash; you’re receiving electricity “credits”. Once you factor in the non-taxable nature of the investment, it’s more like you’re making 6%. I called the company, and they don’t send out a “1099” or anything to the IRS on your behalf. They’re treating it like it’s non-taxable.

Of course, this is questionable. If the Feds ever get their act together on this, it should be treated as a taxable investment. It’s imputed income.

For now, it’s 6% on your money, and that’s not bad when one considers the risk of the investment. After all, it’s not like you have a better option when it comes to your electric bill.