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Residential/Commercial Solar

As your local and trusted electric cooperative, we want to be your source for energy information. Central Electric supports renewable energy efforts and has developed a program for members who wish to generate their own electricity. Learn more below.

No, Central Electric manages the distribution electric system serving its members and does not install residential generation at this time.

Central Electric’s goal is to provide an easy process for local professional installers to interconnect at our member’s home or business.

The interconnection agreement can be found on our website by clicking here.

  • There are no fees to apply with the Interconnection Agreement.
     
  • For systems less than 500 kW there is a $3.75 fee added to the monthly facilities charge.
     
  • Charges for systems greater than 500 kW will be treated as a special case and will be negotiated by our power supply association, NCEMC.
  • Most meters on the Central Electric system are capable of measuring electricity in two directions.
     
    • Electricity supplied from the utility to the member’s home or business.
       
    • Electricity generated by the member and delivered back to the utility grid.
       
  • Any electricity generated that is consumed by the member does not get metered because that electricity is being used on the premises and does not pass through the meter.
     
  • Net metering functionality is not standard on non-renewable locations, but the meter can be re-programmed once the renewable generation has been installed and inspected by the appropriate authorities (town, county, etc.).
  • Yes, Central Electric offers a modified net metering rate for systems sized less than 10 kW. See SCOG rider.
     
  • Central Electric offers our avoided cost rate for all electricity delivered back to the utility grid.
     
  • Members will see two line items on their bill.
    • A quantity of electricity delivered from the utility to the member (charge).
       
    • A quantity of electricity generated by the member and delivered back to the utility grid (credit).
  • Avoided cost is the rate at which Central Electric can purchase electricity from alternative sources (nuclear, natural gas, etc.) at various times of the day.
     
  • Central Electric’s wholesale costs change throughout the day, but our regular retail rate helps us manage the market fluctuations throughout the day.
     
  • Central Electric’s wholesale costs are higher in the early evenings of the summer and during early morning hours of the winter when solar is not typically available.
     
  • During the mid-day hours, when solar is available, Central Electric’s cost for electricity in 2020 is approximately 5.25 cents/kWh – this is the published avoided cost rate for Central Electric’s modified net metering rate.
  • This is a personal decision based on your financial goals which could change significantly if you are installing batteries.
     
  • We would recommend some analysis to maximize the return on investment of a solar system.
     
  • Examine your hourly energy use on our member portal.
     
  • Focus on the energy used between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. because those are the hours that the sun is directly over most installations. When the sun is on the horizon, electricity production is greatly diminished.
     
  • Look at months in different seasons, such as January, April, July and November, to see how your energy use changes throughout the year.
     
  • For the most payback, build a system that covers your usage only during those time periods.
     
  • Build a system that sells back as little electricity as possible as the additional cost of installing more panels than you need to power your home is offset by a lower rate.
  • At this time, residential batteries are fairly expensive.
     
  • Batteries can provide the homeowner a backup source of power during an outage. It is a common misconception that a solar array can power a home during an outage. Many outages occur as a result of storms which would decrease the sunlight available for your system. Even on a sunny day the solar panel produces direct current (DC) which cannot be used by your home. The direct current produced by your solar array is converted to alternating current (AC) using an inverter which requires power from Central Electric’s grid. A battery can be used as a direct source of power for your home or it can power your inverter to convert direct current to alternating current and provide power during an outage.
     
  • Batteries also allow a homeowner to store excess power instead of putting back onto the electric grid at our avoided cost rate.
     
  • Once the electricity is stored, the homeowner can use that power at a later time, offsetting our normal rate which is higher than our avoided cost rate.
     
  • Yes, installations sized from 1 – 500 kW can choose our Purchase Power Rider rate.
     
  • With the Purchase Power rate all energy production is metered and purchase by the cooperative at our avoided cost of 5.25 cents/kWh.
  • Central Electric does not endorse any specific installers and cannot guarantee the results of using these organizations.
     
  • Central Electric will work with any installer and there are several installers that are familiar with our processes and rates.
     

We recommend you ask your installer if they have worked with Central Electric. If they are not familiar with Central Electric, we are happy to have a conversation about our process and policies with those installers before you make a commitment.

 

tool is available through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected  photovoltaic (PV) energy systems. The tool, PVWatts®, is a free application that allows consumers to easily develop estimates of the performance of potential PV installations. NREL is a third-party research laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and is not associated with Central Electric.

 

 

How do I get started?

  1. Review our Small Consumer-Owned Generator Rider Rate applicable to a 1-10 kW size system. Or review our Purchase Power Rider Rate applicable to a 1-500 kW size system.
     
  2. Know that: Renewable generation must be manufactured, installed and operated in accordance with governmental and industry standards. Also, the member is responsible for all environmental and other permits required by governmental agencies prior to construction, installation and interconnection of the renewable generation.
     
  3. Complete Central Electric’s Residential and Small Commercial Standard Interconnection Agreement and send to lowcarbon@cemcpower.com.

 

   

 

Since solar power remains dependent on the weather, with power production limited to when the sun shines, rooftop solar users still need electricity from Central Electric.

The graphs below show typical solar power production in various weather conditions throughout the day.

Solar users also usually need power from Central during peak times, as well. These include hot afternoons and cold winter mornings, when many people require electricity at the same time.  The two orange vertical bars below show power use during those times of day.

 

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Remember, you can examine your hourly energy use on our member portal. Focus on the energy used between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. because those are the hours that the sun is directly over most installations. When the sun is on the horizon, electricity production is greatly diminished.

Look at months in different seasons, such as January, April, July and November, to see how your energy use changes throughout the year. For the most payback, build a system that covers your usage only during those time periods. Build a system that sells back as little electricity as possible as the additional cost of installing more panels than you need to power your home is offset by a lower rate.

If you have questions, call Central Electric at 1.800.446.7752 or 919.774.4900. or email.

 

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