Central Electric flipped the switch in Dec. 2015 on the new community solar project for co-op members and the surrounding community.
The project, located beside the Central Electric office on Wilson Road in Sanford, consists of 360 photovoltaic panels that produce up to 100 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power as many as 12 to 15 homes.
Community solar projects come in many different forms. They usually allow consumers to buy into the system and then they benefit from tax incentives, as well as the energy output — all without the sizeable financial investment of a large, private system.
Our project is funded by a tax equity investor (TEI) who will provide approximately 75 percent of the upfront capital to construct the project in return for the federal and state tax credits for renewable energy.
The TEI will recover its costs, as well as a small return on investment, over a period of seven years. At that point, Central Electric will become the sole owner of the system.
Renewable energy produced by the members’ system will be included in our power supply, and any benefits will be factored into our rates.
The system will help meet our members‘ continuous demand for electricity by supplying that energy year-round, but obviously more so during the longer summer days. This can reduce wholesale power costs, which account for at least 68 percent of your cooperative’s expenses. In addition, the solar system will be a valuable educational tool for area students as they learn about the transmission and distribution of electricity.
While we will continue to purchase power from traditional generation sources, this is another step toward bringing renewable energy into the mix. By balancing our power supply with both traditional sources and renewables, we can provide a bright future for Central Electric members.
To view Central Electric's Community Solar energy production, click here.
Large Scale Renewable Energy
If you plan to construct a qualifying generation, such as wind, solar or hydroelectric, that will be interconnected directly to the electric grid, you may be eligible to sell Central Electric electricity at our standard and negotiated rates.
Click here for more information.
Central Electric has joined other utilities across N.C. to offer a renewable energy alternative called NC GreenPower. NC GreenPower passes contributions to secure either renewable energy generation or carbon offset mitigation. They are dedicated to providing benefits to all 100 North Carolina counties by creating opportunities for renewable energy and carbon offset producers. They work with generators of solar energy, wind power, small-scale hydro power, biomass energy and carbon offsets in all parts of the state to support projects for North Carolina. The program operates upon voluntary participation by members who elect to contribute at least $4 a month on their utility bill to help support a cleaner environment through electricity produced from renewable resources.
None of the utilities participating in the NC GreenPower program keep the funds; all contributions are forwarded by the utilities directly to NC GreenPower for the purchase of renewable energy for the North Carolina electric grid. Contributions are tax-free and qualify as a tax-deductible contribution for income tax purposes.
NC GreenPower only keeps $1 out of every $4 for program operations, though the majority of that portion just covers the cost of operating the program. NC GreenPower has applied for grants to help pay for most marketing expenses. The remaining $3 of all contributions are reserved to assist with education and outreach efforts and to support either renewable energy generation and solar schools grants, or carbon offset mitigation.
And when you contribute to renewable energy, you get the benefits of 125 kWh* of green energy on the grid plus you are helping to install solar PV arrays at NC K-12 schools. Contributions to carbon offsets help mitigate 1,000 lbs of greenhouse gases. *Change from 50 kWh to 125 kWh as of January 1, 2020. Every $4 donation to the renewable energy product will support both green energy projects and our Solar+ Schools grant program.
The NC GreenPower Solar+ Schools grant application opens annually from January 2 – February 28. All K-12 schools in North Carolina are eligible to apply. Please visit their website for more information: https://www.ncgreenpower.org/solar-schools/#2020-schools
Learn more about NC GreenPower or dontate directly at www.ncgreenpower.org.