Four steps to consider before installing solar
Posted on February 3rd, 2020
Since solar power generation is rapidly becoming more widely available, here’s four important steps to consider before installing solar arrays.
CALL US FIRST.
With the rising popularity of solar, the economic benefits can be a good investment. However, it’s important to understand how net metering, demand billing and current regulation could impact you. Call us first at 800-489-7405. David Copeland, marketing and development representative, can explain the benefits and billing of solar energy.
UNDERSTAND HOW NET METERING WORKS.
Most arrays will provide you with a portion of the electricity needed but won’t meet all of your needs. At night and on cloudy days, you’ll need more power than your array can produce. That means you’ll still be connected to First Electric’s power lines where energy can flow both ways. First Electric has set policies and procedures in place for interconnecting solar arrays to our grid. In order for your solar array to be interconnected, go to www.firstelectric.coop/net-metering-service to learn how net metering works.
MAKE YOUR HOME ENERGY EFFICIENT.
Adding insulation, sealing air leaks and completing other energy efficiency enhancements can cut your energy costs immediately resulting in the need for a smaller solar array. In order to determine the size of the solar array that you will need, review your past electric bills to determine your energy use needs.
Once you purchase, you will be the owner which means you will be responsible for the purchase price as well as any ongoing maintenance and repair costs. Consider all expenses you could incur during the lifetime of the array. These costs may include installation, interconnection costs, insurance and taxes. Any financial incentives available will help reduce your investment costs. One great resource is www.dsireusa.org which includes an interactive map showing federal and state incentives, credits, grants, loans and rebates. (This may not apply to Arkansas.)
HOW NET METERING SERVICE WORKS
Net Metering is the process of measuring the difference between electricity supplied by First Electric and the electricity generated by a grid-tie facility and fed back to the cooperative over the applicable billing period.
- Sunlight hits your solar panels, creating electricity.
- Excess solar power is sent to the grid.
- Some of your solar power is used in your home.
- When the sun isn’t shining, you buy electricity from First Electric.
- Each month, your bill will reflect the kWh you’ve bought from First Electric mins the kWh sent to the grid.