by General Manager Steve Stroshane
Today's co-op members are looking for energy options. We know you want to power your homes with energy sources that are clean, efficient and cost-effective. I'm happy to report that electricity is becoming greener, and the cost for renewable energy is coming down. About 18% of the electricity we purchase for distribution to you is from renewable sources.
Beyond a greener grid, we also recognize that some of you are exploring residential solar as an alternative energy source. Interest in solar energy is fueled by decreasing costs for solar energy systems, the availability of tax incentives and rebates, and the growth of companies that offer solar panel installation. We were motivated by these same benefits when we developed SunTuria Solar in our back yard!
We're here to help
As attractive and popular as residential (rooftop) solar may appear, it is important to understand the true costs of installation and maintenance, as well as the true energy savings. To determine if residential solar is right for you, we encourage you to do your homework and ask yourself these questions:
1. What is the overall energy efficiency of your home?
2. What is the best system size to power your home?
3. What is the age and pitch of your roof?
4. What is your sun orientation and tree coverage?
5. What is the cost? Is there a large up-front payment or fees spread over time?
6. Are there hidden costs, such as a roof replacement or land clearing before you can start?
7. What are the ongoing maintenance costs?
8. Are tax incentives or rebates available?
9. What is required to ensure safety?
10. Is the energy savings worth the investment?
11. How do you connect to the electric grid for power when the sun doesn't shine?
12. Is it more cost-effective to invest in other energy saving measures for your home?
We can help you look at your total energy picture and consider the best options for your home. While rooftop solar works for many, it is not the answer for all.
I invite you to contact our member services team if you are considering solar for your home. We also have resources on our website under Home Solar and Wind. We stand ready to help our members with energy options that make sense for the environment and your pocketbook.