Is solar electricity right for you? It really depends on a number of factors. The first thing you should consider is why you want to go solar. If it is for backup power in an emergency, stop here. PV systems are tied to the grid for safety reasons. When the power goes out, the PV array shuts down. If it is for environmental reasons, read on.
Your next step is to contact us to discuss your plan. Let us help you decide what makes the most sense for your home. A south-facing roof is typically the preferred direction for the placement of solar panels. Do trees shade the roof at any time? Next to darkness, shade is the natural enemy of solar panels. Is your roof structure capable of accepting the weight of the panels and any other load, say wind and snow? Are there any neighborhood or local regulations prohibiting solar panels?
Check your electric bills from the past year and see how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) your home has used. Riverland Energy can assist with this task.
Then comes the cost. It is a good idea to get multiple bids from reputable contractors. The contractor can help you with any rebates or credits that may be available. Riverland Energy Cooperative does not have a rebate for distributed generation systems, solar or wind. If you talk to a contractor, be sure to check references. Increased interest in solar has spawned a large number of sellers who have little knowledge in PV installations.
Riverland uses the PSC6027 – Application for Distributed Generation Form and the PSC6029 – Interconnection Agreement Distributed Generation Form. The size of the system will determine if we need to have an engineering study completed. Most of the installations we currently have on our distribution system offset a portion of the electric consumption at the account. If a system is designed to produce more than you consume you will get a voided cost for the additional energy produced, which is less than half of the retail rate.
Please contact Riverland early in the process, as your existing metering needs to be evaluated to make sure you will not have to do any major changes to your electric service. We will also need to reprogram your meter and do an anti-back feed test before you will start receiving credit for any energy put back on to Riverland’s distribution lines.