News & Press
During the summer, Tri-County EMC conducted a Solar Interest Survey among the membership. The survey gaged members’ general knowledge of the solar industry as well as their interest in using solar power to provide energy for their home. The article below will answer questions about solar energy asked by respondents while the graphs will show the respondents general attitudes toward solar energy.
Tri-County EMC does not purchase excess energy from solar systems. FALSE
Tri-County has purchased excess energy from distributed generation since 2012. Excess energy beyond the home’s needs flow back through a bi-directional meter and are purchased by Tri-County EMC at avoided cost, which is what the cooperative would have paid for generating that energy.
Tri-County EMC hasn’t considered wind energy. FALSE
Wind generation requires a 12 mph average wind speed. Only a few locations in Georgia, including mountaintops and offshore, approach this consistent level of wind.
Solar panels will lower my power bill. MAYBE
Assuming that your system is properly installed with sufficient unshaded exposure to the sun, solar panels will certainly reduce the amount of energy you purchase from Tri-County EMC. But at a current average installed price of $3.00 per watt, a system large enough to provide 50% of the average home’s 1,300 kWh monthly usage will require an investment of around $15,000. When financing and maintenance costs are factored in, you might easily pay more for your energy with solar panels. For that reason, we recommend that anyone interested in solar carefully consider the costs and get guidance from reputable sources. 71042-001
There is a list of recommended solar installers. FALSE
Georgia does not currently require a license for solar installers. However, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, Inc. (NABCEP) has a certification program for solar installers. A list of installers that have completed the NABCEP certification can be found at www.nabcep.org/certified-installer-locator. And anyone attaching solar panels to a home’s electrical system must be a Georgia licensed electrical contractor.
If you are considering solar for your home, Tri-County EMC will gladly provide a free assessment of your property. We can analyze your home’s energy usage and help you determine if your home is a good fit for a photovoltaic solar system. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) also provides a free solar calculator online at http://pvwatts.nrel.gov.
Cooperative Solar Project: Sign Up to Request Information
The installation of residential solar panels faces many challenges; home ownership, sufficient rooftop or yard space, shading, structural issues, replacing shingles and cost. Tri-County EMC is considering a cooperative solar project where the EMC would install and maintain a utility scale solar array locally. Participating members would be able to pay a monthly fee for the output from one or more 1 kW (ac) blocks of solar panels, which would each likely generate 180 to 250 kWh per month. There would be no contract and no minimum term to participate. Watch future issues of Current Lines for more information or call 478.986.8118 or complete a brief form online at www.tri-countyemc.com/cooperativesolar.cms to receive more information about this program as it becomes available.
Solar Interest Survey Drawing
Congratulations to Michael Wong of Baldwin County, winner of the Solar Interest Survey $100 Participant Drawing. The survey, completed by members this summer, had a total of 627 participants. The survey responses gave the cooperative valuable knowledge of how we can support members with their solar interests and develop cooperative solar opportunities in the future. 1706-002