What is OurSolar?
OurSolar is a community solar program that offers one of the cleanest and most affordable renewable energy sources available. By grouping solar panels together, costs can be shared, power output can be maximized, and hassles of rooftop installation can be avoided. OurSolar will be provided by Buckeye Power on behalf of The Energy Cooperative (TEC) and its members.
How many panels can I subscribe to?
TEC electric members can reserve any number of panels available in OurSolar. TEC reserves the right to adjust or limit the number of panels subscribed to based on demand and availability. TEC recommends that members review their electric usage to determine the number of panels that are right for them. TEC members will be responsible to pay for any electric produced from the panels that exceeds their usage for the month.
Will any equipment be hooked up to my home?
No. The power generated by OurSolar will be transported throughout the community by The Energy Cooperative.
If I subscribe to a panel of OurSolar, will I stop receiving my monthly bill?
No. You will continue to receive your monthly bill, but your bill will now show that a portion of your energy is produced by your solar panels and paid for at the OurSolar rate.
How long is the term of the agreement?
The agreement can last for 5, 10, or 20 years – your choice. The OurSolar rate will be fixed during the agreement, but is subject to change after the agreement ends.
How does OurSolar compare to rooftop solar?
OurSolar gives all members an opportunity to benefit from this clean energy source because it’s built and maintained at a central location by experts in the field. This eliminates common barriers – such as trees, roof size, and house location – that prevent people from installing solar panels on their property. Further, all ongoing costs are included in the subscription rate, so there is no need to worry about unexpected costs popping up in the future!
Can I take advantage of any tax credits or other incentives to bring down the cost of a panel?
OurSolar has sought out and taken advantage of all available credits, rebates, and incentives in order to make the program as affordable as possible. OurSolar will continue to manage these incentives on your behalf and these cost reductions are included in the subscription rate.
Is energy production guaranteed?
No. The energy produced for each panel is expected to be about 410 kilowatt hours per year, but may be more or less in any given year depending on weather conditions.
Can anyone sign up for The Energy Cooperative’s OurSolar program?
At this time, only electric members on the residential rate, meeting The Energy Cooperative’s eligibility criteria, may subscribe to panels.
What happens if I move?
If you move to another location within The Energy Cooperative service territory, your subscription can “move” with you! If you move out of the service territory, you have the following options:
1. Transfer your subscription to another member of The Energy Cooperative
2. Transfer your subscription as part of the sale or rental of your home
3. Return your subscription back to The Energy Cooperative at no cost
What if I cancel the agreement early?
If the agreement is cancelled early due to moving or death, then the options under “What happens if I move?” apply. If the agreement is cancelled early due to a different reason, then the subscription may be returned to The Energy Cooperative by paying an administrative fee of $50 per panel.
Where is the solar array located?
The OurSolar array will be located at The Energy Cooperative’s Utica Service Center in Utica, Ohio.
When will OurSolar be completed?
OurSolar is slated to begin construction and installation at the Utica Service Center in late fall and is anticipated to be completed in about a month. Participating electric members should see production from the OurSolar panels on their bills as early as the January billing cycle.
How do I subscribe to panels in OurSolar?
TEC electric members can begin reserving panels starting October 1, 2016 by calling the member services department at (800) 255-6815, contacting us through our online form, or stopping by the office. Panels are available on a first come, first serve basis. Electric members can reserve any number of panels available in OurSolar. However, TEC reserves the right to adjust or limit the number of panels subscribed to based on demand and availability. Starting in early November, TEC will begin sending Member Participation Agreements to those electric members who have reserved panels. Electric members can sign up at the current OurSolar rate through June 2017 based on availability of panels. Only electric members of The Energy Cooperative meeting the Cooperative’s eligibility criteria may subscribe to panels.
Why would I pay more for my energy?
Some members are interested in solar, but have found that installing solar panels on their home is time-consuming and expensive. OurSolar provides electric members with the opportunity to be more environmentally friendly, while not having the high upfront installation cost of solar panels. OurSolar also offers electric members a fixed rate for electric produced from the panels for the term of the Member Participation Agreement. The standard Generation and Transmission charge is variable, and may change based on costs of fuel and other factors. Members may find value in the predictability of a long-term fixed rate.
How will my bill be calculated if I subscribe to solar panels?
There is no up-front cost to participate in OurSolar. Participating members simply pay for the electricity produced from their panels at the OurSolar rate. The OurSolar rate is a fixed rate of $0.099875 per kWh for the term of the member’s agreement. The fixed OurSolar rate will replace the variable Generation and Transmission component of the member’s bill based on the amount of electric produced from the member’s solar panels. Below is a sample bill calculation to help illustrate how OurSolar will work.
• Member used 1,000 kWh for the billable month
• Member has a subscription to 10 solar panels, which produced 300 kWh last month
• 300 kWh of the member’s usage will be billed at the OurSolar Rate of $0.099875 totaling $29.96.
• This equates to an additional $8.06 over the current Generation & Transmission rate (or, $0.80 per panel). [*The standard Generation & Transmission rate is variable, and may change based on fuel costs and other factors, while the OurSolar rate is fixed for the term of the Member’s agreement. As a result, the difference between the standard Generation & Transmission Rate and the OurSolar Rate will vary.]
• The remaining 700 kWh will be billed at the current Generation & Transmission Rate of $0.073 totaling $51.10
The total Generation and Transmission portion of the Member’s bill will be $81.06. Member’s bill will also include other standard charges that are not impacted by OurSolar, including the Distribution Charge, Fixed Monthly Facility Fee, and the kWh tax.
How many panels are right for me?
Each solar panel in OurSolar is a 335 watt panel that is anticipated to generate an average of 410 kilowatt hours per year (35 kWh/month). This average can vary based on a number of factors, including weather. The average homeowner uses an average of approximately 1,000 kilowatt hours of electric per month. For the average homeowner, 10 solar panels will generate approximately 1/3 of the member’s electric usage for the month. Check your most recent bill for your monthly usage and determine how many panels are right for you.
Where can I watch an informative video about OurSolar?
Please click here to watch a short video about The Energy Cooperative’s OurSolar program.
What is the cost to participate?
The OurSolar rate is a fixed rate of $0.099875 per kWh for the term of the member’s agreement. The fixed OurSolar rate will replace the variable Generation and Transmission component of the member’s bill based on the amount of electric produced from the member’s solar panels. Below is a sample bill calculation to help illustrate the cost to participate.
• The member’s normal bill for the month is $100.00
• The member has a subscription to 10 solar panels, which produced 300 kWh last month
• 300 kWh x current Generation & Transmission rate of $0.073 = ($21.90)
• 300 kWh x OurSolar Rate of $0.099875 = $29.96
• The difference between the current rate and the OurSolar rate is an additional $8.06 (or, $0.80 per panel).* [*The standard Generation & Transmission rate is variable, and may change based on fuel costs and other factors, while the OurSolar rate is fixed for the term of the Member’s agreement. As a result, the difference between the standard Generation & Transmission Rate and the OurSolar Rate will vary.]
The Member will pay for electric usage exceeding the amount produced from its solar panels at the current Generation a Transmission rate.
• Member’s bill will also include other standard charges that are not impacted by OurSolar, including the Distribution Charge, Fixed Monthly Facility Fee, and the kWh tax.
Total bill after OurSolar: $108.06