If you’re considering solar power, we’re here to help. More and more of our local member-owners are interested in pursuing home solar installations, and as your local energy partner, we want to work with you to navigate the process.
How does home solar really work?
Whether you are interested in mounting solar panels to your roof or would like to add ground-mounted solar to your property, the sunlight-to-electricity conversion process works the same:
Sun to Solar Panel
During daylight hours on low-cloud days, sunlight will shine on your panels. These panels are often called photovoltaic or PV panels because they support the photovoltaic process of absorbing and converting light to electricity.
Solar Panel to Inverter
The newly created electricity must be converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is the kind of current used in the United States because it can be “stepped up” to support traveling long distances and “stepped down” to an appropriate voltage for household appliances. The conversion to alternating current occurs in a device called an inverter.
Inverter to Energy
In most cases, the newly formed alternating current runs through your home’s electrical panel and powers some of your home energy needs. If your home needs more energy than the solar panels can provide, you will draw metered power from the grid, just as you would have before installing panels.
Getting Started With Solar
Whether you’re just getting started or have thoroughly researched solar energy, give our Energy Specialists a call.(252) 209-2236
Improve Energy Efficiency
Another thing we always recommend is to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
A more efficient home stretches your energy dollar further, and you’ll recover the expense of your solar investment more quickly.
We’ve seen instances in our community where members have been misled and misinformed because of inaccurate information. We’re here to be your energy partner throughout the process, helping you to arrive at a decision right for your home and personal goals.
Electric Bill Savings
Depending upon the size and efficiency of your system and home, most homeowners see savings on their electric bill. Some solar companies make claims that you’ll never have to pay an electric bill again, and we caution this is simply not true. Your home requires electricity even if the sun is shining, including at night and on cloudy days, which means you will continue to draw electricity from the grid and be billed monthly based on your home energy use and any basic facilities charges.
Roanoke Electric Cooperative member-owners with home solar are still connected to the grid. Because we are an at-cost, not-for-profit cooperative energy provider, standard charges that all member-owners pay to ensure the reliability and safety of the electric grid for all will stay on your bill, no matter how much energy your home may produce. Without this structure, grid costs would unintentionally be shifted to member-owners for whom home solar is out of reach for financial, geographic or other reasons.
Selling Electricity to my co-op
Can I make money by selling electricity back to my co-op?
This is a common question and a concept often clouded by misinformation. The best thing you can do is contact us and one of our Energy Specialists will help you determine if solar is the right fit for meeting your financial goals.
Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s Compensation
At Roanoke Electric Cooperative, we compensate our member-owners for their contributions at what is called “avoided cost” – or a price in line with what we pay for wholesale power before infrastructure and operational costs.
Compensating our member-owners for excess solar energy at “avoided cost” ensures they earn a fair price for what they produce while also paying for the infrastructure still utilized by the home.
- Because policies vary, we encourage you to please contact us to make sure you have all the facts before purchasing solar installation.
- Solar installation companies may not be familiar with our co-op’s policies, and we don’t want anyone to enter into an agreement with misinformation.
Calculating Potential Savings
The U.S. Department of Energy has a great tool for providing cost estimates on home solar installations.
Please keep in mind this is an estimate only; you will have a more accurate financial picture by working with us and a professional solar installation company.
Choosing between ground-mounted or rooftop
Ground-mounted and rooftop solar are both home solar solutions, and their differences are highlighted below for your consideration.
Roanoke Electric Cooperative supports home solar
We support all energy solutions that:
- fit for our members
- uphold the safety and reliability of our grid
- improve the diversity of our resources
- ensure costs are not shifted to member-owners without home solar
Our nation’s electric grid is shifting from a model where large, centrally located generating plants produce power and push it to the far corners of the grid to a model that incorporates more distributed energy resources and technologies, like home solar. This is an exciting time in our industry, and we want our member-owners to make a choice that is right for them.
If your choice leads you to solar installation, we ask that you please let us know and work with us so you can make informed decisions and incorporate your new installation into our plans for managing electric traffic across our grid.
Incentives for Home Solar
There is a federal solar tax credit that:
- allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of installing solar from your federal taxes
- has no cap on its value
- has no cap on its value
*according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- These incentives decrease in 2023 and 2024.
- Consult with an accountant to determine your full rebate potential.
We are here as your trusted energy partner. We will provide accurate information you will need to make informed decisions and help you maximize your energy savings potential.