Working together: Answering your home solar questions

Electric cooperatives in North Carolina are focused on supporting their consumer-members and building a brighter future for our communities. Beyond efforts to integrate renewables while upholding the reliability and affordability of electricity, cooperatives are also supporting changing community and individual needs, including working with an increasing number of members who are considering home solar.

Embarking on a home solar project can be a big investment, and cooperative energy advisers are here to help members access the information they need to make an informed decision. Advisers can work with members to assess home energy use, providing clear information about solar technology and how it could impact your energy bills. Like any major investment, it is important to consider a range of personal, geographic and financial factors when determining the best fit for your home and family.

One of the most important questions to ask is: What are my goals? A recent study conducted across North Carolina’s electric cooperatives revealed that 56 percent of co-op members who express interest in home solar are interested because of perceived savings on their electric bill. If savings are your aim, start by contacting your co-op. A local energy adviser can walk through several home energy solutions and their impact on your energy use. Often, energy efficiency upgrades stretch your energy dollar further and can provide a faster return on your investment. Most co-ops offer rebates that make these measures even more wallet-friendly.

If your motivation stems from environmental factors or the opportunity to embrace a growing technology, visit your cooperative’s website for information about how home solar works and answers to some of the most common questions, including: Is my home in a good location for solar? How could solar impact my energy bill? How would my home solar system interconnect with the grid? What other factors should I consider?

If you have researched home solar and it seems like a fit, contact your co-op for important information about rates and grid interconnection agreements that you will need before entering into conversations with solar installers. While many installers are reputable and knowledgeable, there are more than 100 electric utilities in North Carolina, and it is possible that they may miss facts and details specific to your co-op.

While rooftop solar works for some, it’s not the answer for all. For renters or others for whom at-home solar isn’t a fit, many cooperatives offer community solar, allowing members to purchase the output of a local solar panel without the maintenance or cost of an at-home system.

As North Carolina’s electric cooperatives work to evolve the electricity grid, we are proud to support all energy solutions that are a fit for members, uphold the safety and reliability of our grid and improve the diversity of our resources, while also ensuring that costs are not shifted to members without home solar panels.

As your local energy partner, your co-op is here to support you in meeting your energy goals. If you’re eyeing home solar, contact your co-op first to learn more about the interconnection process and get the accurate information you need to make an informed decision. Our teams of experts are ready to help, and we look forward to continuing to work together to build a brighter future for all.

To connect with an energy expert about your specific energy goals, contact your electric co-op.