Let Tri-County Electric help you with your decision to go solar. As your trusted energy advisor, our only interest is helping you make an informed decision about solar energy. We will walk you through the process and help you understand the economics. If you decide solar is right for you, you can choose to use Tri-County Electric to install the solar panels at your home. There is no better assurance or peace of mind than allowing YOUR cooperative to help you make the transition to solar.
Whether you decide to utilize Tri-County Electric’s solar installation services or not, our purpose is only to help you make an informed decision. For more information, contact your solar advisor, Wilford Thompson, at 803-874-1215.
As of July 1, 2019, new solar systems will be interconnected to the Tri-County Electric system under the Surplus Generation Rider. The established Value of Renewable Generation to the Tri-County Electric system is $0.065/kWh
If a member decides to purchase a renewable power system for their home, the process to interconnect that system with Tri-County is as follows:
- The member will submit a completed Tri-County Electric Application to Interconnection along with the following:
a.) Application fee ($100.00 residential, $250.00 nonresidential)
b.) Proof of personal-liability insurance ($100,000 minimum)
c.) One-line diagram for proposed system installation and connection
d.) Site Plan: depicting roof pitch, Azimuth, location of ground mount on the property showing pitch and Azimuth
- Once Tri-county Electric approves the interconnection application, next the member will sign an interconnection agreement with Tri-County Electric and then be able to move forward with the installation of the renewable power system.
- Once the installation has been completed, Tri-County will verify that the installed system meets the Interconnection Standard.
- The member will be notified of any modifications required to meet the standard.
Tri-County will commission the installation of a pre-programmed, bi-directional, net-metering unit, once the installed solar system has received the required verification.
PLEASE BE REMINDED THAT THE INSTALLERS CANNOT CUT OUR METER SEAL. IF THEY DO THEN IT IS A $200.00 PENALTY AND WE WILL NOT PUT THE ACCOUNT ON THE SURPLUS GENERATION RIDER UNTIL IT IS PAID!
Solar Frequently asked Questions
Before choosing a solar system be sure that your home is as energy efficient as possible; you may want to get a home energy audit to help determine which improvements will be most beneficial. Investing in energy efficiency provides a faster return on your investment. By improving your home’s energy efficiency first you will reduce your overall energy use and may reduce the size of PV system called - that saves more money. Also make sure your roof is in tip-top shape. If yours is older, you may need to repair or replace it before installing solar (and remember, a solar PV system may last up to 30 years, so be sure your roof will last, too). Research solar and solar contractors thoroughly before investing in a system; get at least three quotes before choosing a one. Be sure to work closely with Tri-County for advice and assistance on interconnecting with the grid. Tri-County can provide information and history of your energy usage that can help you size your system and evaluate savings. Co-op staff has experience in working with other member-owners and solar contractors.
Solar energy systems work when sunlight hits a solar photovoltaic module (solar panel or PV panel) and causes electric current to flow. The current produced from the PV panels is controlled and regulated by an inverter, which converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), needed for use by household appliances. The electrical panel is where the power gets distributed throughout your house; any excess electricity may be sent from the panel back to your cooperative’s power grid.
That depends on several factors. 1) The size of your system. You can determine how much electricity you want to produce; then size your system accordingly. Note that you can start out small and add on. A system that will generate 100% of your energy needs is expensive, so most systems are sized to generate only a portion of your home’s needs. 2) Your site. If you have a shade-free area from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you’ll be able to collect more sun and produce more energy than if your site is shaded. 3) Your region. The more sunny days in your area, the more electricity you’ll be able to generate. For example, systems in the Southwest produce more electricity per year than in the northeast. You can find online calculators to help answer this question in more detail, and installers can provide details about your situation, too.
The payback period can range from fewer than 10 years to more than 20 years, depending on the system cost, available rebates and incentives, the amount of electricity produced, and the retail price of electricity you purchase from Tri-County.
It is solely the responsibility of the member-owner to determine if owning a distributed generation system is a good investment. Tri-County does not provide financial assistance with the analysis; however, we will assist you with finding appropriate and credible resources to help you with the decision-making process. Before determining if distributed generation is right for you, you’ll want to determine your goals (e.g. environmental stewardship, serving a percentage of your energy demand, etc.), evaluate the type and size of distributed generation desired, understand your economics, and investigate and understand all applicable requirements and regulations.
Certified PV products and systems generally are reliable, with a life expectancy of about 30 years. Manufacturers test PV panels for hail impact, high wind, and freeze-thaw cycles to represent real-life situations. Most manufacturers offer 20- to 25-year warranties for panels; extended warranties may be available at an extra cost. Little maintenance is required; occasionally it may be necessary to rinse modules off with water to remove dust and grime. Other components like inverters may have a shorter life. PV panels may outlast the roof they are attached to. Make sure your roof is in good shape or budget for replacement during the life of the system.
Every kilowatt of the solar array takes about 75 square feet. So, a typical 3kW array (twelve panels) will take a roof area about 11′ tall by 20′ wide (two rows of six).