Under the cooperative’s Community Solar program, available in June, YEC members can sign up to purchase power that will be generated at a 50-kilowatt (kW) solar farm in Rock Hill located near the Galleria Mall.
YEC members can sign up now to purchase some of the solar farm’s renewable energy output. Pricing is:
- Up-front charge of $100 per kW unit
- Monthly charge of $12 per kW unit
- Monthly credit of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh)
- One-time administrative fee of $30
Donna Dessaint, YEC member services representative and the co-op’s point person for its renewable-energy offerings, says the Community Solar program offers an affordable, low-risk way to benefit from solar energy without the hassles often involved in roof-top solar installations.
“Participating members avoid designing, permitting, installing, maintaining and insuring their own photovoltaic solar array,” Dessaint notes.
Members benefit, she adds, based on how much solar power they buy.
“Their Community Solar power purchases would offset part of their monthly bill. They would get a credit on their bill, based on the portion of ownership they have in the solar farm.”
York Electric is offering the program in response to member interest, Dessaint says. While the cooperative also assists members who want roof-top solar, consumer research conducted by South Carolina’s electric co-ops shows much stronger interest in Community Solar, she says.
“Many people who expressed interest in solar power recognize the benefits of the Community Solar approach,” she says. “Research in South Carolina has shown that the cost per kilowatt for Community Solar is roughly half that of roof-top solar. You get a better return on your investment by investing in Community Solar.”
Community Solar programs are being introduced by York Electric and other cooperatives around South Carolina. The state’s 20, consumer-owned, independent co-ops have collaborated through Central Electric Power Cooperative, their jointly owned power supply aggregator, to design solar programs for S.C. co-op members.
SIGN THEM UP!
These Fort Mill residents are eager for Community Solar
Hitesh Patel and Cliff Toole live in different parts of YEC’s service area but face a similar challenge: They both wanted to add solar panels to their homes but just couldn’t make it work.
In Fort Mill’s Sutton Place neighborhood, Patel ran into neighborhood restrictions. “For my house, I was told I cannot install anything on the roof,” he says.
A YEC member for about eight years, Patel has been in touch with the co-op since YEC started gauging member interest in solar options in 2014. He’s pleased that YEC is offering Community Solar.
“What I liked about it is it’s a solar farm. It’s maintained. You don’t have to worry about the maintenance, or calling people–if something’s broken, they’ll take care of it. And you get reimbursed [for the solar power you purchase] on your bill.”
Over in Springfield area of Fort Mill, Cliff Toole had looked into roof-top solar, too. “My house location is not well-situated to install panels,” he says.
Trees would block the sunlight, Toole says, and the pitch of his roof wasn’t right. Plus, he notes, “The house wasn’t built at the correct angle to the sun.”
A co-op member since 2009, Toole says the Community Solar panel helps him achieve a goal to cut back on his personal contribution to the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. “For me personally, it’s always about reducing my [carbon dioxide] footprint,” he says.
Patel is likewise pleased to have an easy way to invest in solar power. “It’s clean energy,” he says. “You can help with the cause for that.”
Community Solar FAQ (12)
Solar communities are groups of solar panels kept at one location. They offer members an opportunity to invest in solar energy without the cost, hassle, and installation of solar equipment on their home. The return on their investment is shown as a credit on their electric bill.
Members subscribe to the output from YEC’s community solar site for a 20-year period, choosing the number of kilowatt (kW) units for their subscription. One kW unit will produce approximately 150 kWh per month. You can add more kW units at any time, as long as they are available.
When energy production begins, you will receive a portion of the production from the solar community each month, based on the number of kW unit subscriptions on your account.
Members pay a portion of the cost per kW unit upfront, then a monthly subscription fee is charged as a line item on the electric bill. The correlating output of the subscribed kW units is credited back to the member at 10¢ per kWh. Members pay a one-time $30 administrative fee for participating in the program.
- Subscriptions Upfront Charge: $100 per kW
- Monthly Unit Charge: $12 per kW subscription
- Monthly Credit: 10¢ per kWh
- One-time $30 administrative fee
Any YEC member in good standing may participate in the Community Solar program on a first come, first served basis. This excludes residential net metering and Advance Pay accounts.
Members are subscribing to the energy produced by the solar farm in relation to the number of kW units to which they subscribe.
The overall program term is 20 years. The minimum term participation is 2 years, and requires a 30-day notice of cancellation.
A member must subscribe to at least 1 kW unit, but cannot subscribe to more than 5 kW units.
YEC’s community solar array produces approximately 50 kW per month, which is roughly equivalent to the energy used by 7 average homes in YEC’s service area. However, it is important to note that solar production will vary from month to month based on weather and time of year.
While the cost of installing solar panels on a home varies greatly from house to house, YEC has attempted to keep the Community Solar pricing in line with the average cost of putting solar panels on a home.
YEC will use tax credits associated with the Community Solar program which are figured into the program’s pricing.
If the community solar arrays are damaged during a storm, members will receive a proportionate share of the energy produced by any non-damaged panels while repairs are made.
If a Community Solar member moves from one home served by YEC to another home served by YEC, the solar energy subscription moves with the member.
If a member moves out of YEC’s service area, the subscription will terminate; the upfront charge paid upon beginning the program is not refundable.
Community Solar Farm