What is OurSolar?
OurSolar is a community solar program that offers one of the cleanest and most affordable renewable energy sources available. By grouping solar panels together, costs can be shared, power output can be maximized and hassles of rooftop installation can be avoided. OurSolar will be provided by Buckeye Power on behalf of Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative (PPEC) and its members.
Can OurSolar save me money?
OurSolar is not intended as a cost savings initiative but as an alternative to pricey rooftop solar. Cost-effective coal-fired fuel is a large percentage of our generation portfolio but we encourage the use of renewable energy sources as they become more practical and affordable. In time, solar may become more affordable. We already offer wind, solar, biomass and hydro as part of your power mix, but some Members requested more green energy – OurSolar fills that need.
How does OurSolar work?
On a first come, first-served basis, you can subscribe to the energy output of up to 10-3’ x 6’ panels at an average cost between $3 and $5 per panel. When you apply your solar credit, that ends up costing you less than $2 per month per panel. You sign up for a 5, 10 or 20-year contract. You can stop subscribing before the contract is up for a fee, but there is no fee if you move or in the event of a Member’s passing. Future costs may rise for traditional energy sources but, for the contract duration, the rate will remain the same – a nice benefit. PPEC does not profit from OurSolar as an energy distribution co-op. Construction costs were covered through an initiative of Buckeye Power, Inc., our generation company – another great benefit!
How do I track the output, cost and credit of my OurSolar?
Your monthly bill will look the same, except there will be additional line items on your bill for the OurSolar bill charge and credit.
Why is PPEC doing this?
PPEC supports all types of energy generations, including renewable energy. We’ve conducted surveys with our members and those surveys have shown PPEC members have a high interest in participating in community solar.
Is energy production guaranteed?
No. The energy produced for each panel is expected to be about 375 kilowatt hours per year, but may be more or less than this in any given year depending on weather conditions. Typically, one panel would produce 31.25 kwh based on a 12 month average, and the OurSolar rate is .009422 per kwh which would be locked in for the length of the contract.
Is there a limit to the number of panels I can subscribe to?
Yes. The limit is 10 panels.
Is the solar cost fixed for the next 5 years?
Cost is fixed for 5, 10, or 20 years, depending on the length of the contract.
Do these panels track the sun?
Not actively. They are fixed-tilt, arranged to balance energy production and snow shedding.
If there is enough interest for a Phase II, will it cut costs if you add it now?
No. Panels and equipment were purchased together as a single 2.1MW project to achieve the lowest possible price. A Phase II would need to be planned and executed separately.
Will you track the power produced from each panel?
No. The entire site will be metered at a single point, and subscribers will be allocated their portion of the array’s output; however, there are alarms built into each power optimizer. If a pair of panels fails to operate as well as the surrounding panels, maintenance crews will be alerted.
What is the total statewide project MW? What is PPEC’s OurSolar project?
2.1MW total statewide; Paulding Putnam Electric’s is 75KW.
Are you using any subsidizing from the state or government?
Not from the state, but a federal 30% tax credit is included.
Can I take advantage of any tax credits or other incentives to bring down the cost of a panel?
No, OurSolar has sought out and taken advantage of all available credits, rebates, and incentives in order to make the program as affordable as possible. OurSolar will continue to manage these incentives on your behalf and these cost reductions are included in the subscription rate.
Will this lower my bill?
No, OurSolar is not intended as a cost savings initiative but as an alternative to pricey rooftop solar; however, it will allow you to lock in a portion of your purchased power at a fixed rate. It is expected that wholesale rates will exceed the OurSolar rate sometime during the project’s lifetime and at that point, you may realize a savings.
Is this similar to the net metering program?
Net Metering is another co-op program that allows members to purchase, install and own their own solar or wind generation. OurSolar is a community solar program.
At what point will there be a break-even in cost?
That is difficult to project precisely but our average wholesale rate is expected to match the OurSolar rate within 16 years. This depends almost entirely on federal policy. The Clean Power Plan and other EPA rules have the potential to raise wholesale energy costs for everyone, in effect, forcing the break-even with solar to occur sooner.
Will I have an electric bill if I participate in the program?
Yes, you will still have an electric bill. The OurSolar Program is designed to give our members an option of choosing where their electric generation comes from. It is not designed to eliminate your bill.
Will this lower my electric use/Kwh?
No, the Kwh generated through the solar panels will be a separate line item on your bill.
How much Renewable Generation is in Buckeye Power’s portfolio? (Buckeye Power is PPEC’s wholesale distributor)
Currently, 17.45 MW is Renewable Generation. All Twenty-five Electric Co-ops served by Buckeye Power are installing community solar arrays throughout the state of Ohio. After the installation of all the arrays, 19.55 MW will be generated.
What is your primary source of energy generation?
Our primary source of generation is coal from the Cardinal Power Station located in Brilliant, Ohio. It is rated one of the cleanest power plants of its kind in the U.S. and is a “best in class” world performer in reduction of emissions. Our portfolio is very diverse and a list of our resources can be found at: http://ohioec.org/buckeye-power/generation-resources/
Will this reduce the cost of electricity on my bill?
Initially, you will not see any savings; however being locked in at the solar rate, there is a potential savings in the future. This program is designed to promote renewable generation.
Will any equipment be hooked up to my home?
No. The power generated by OurSolar will be transported throughout the community by Paulding Putnam.
If I subscribe to a panel of OurSolar, will I stop receiving my monthly bill?
No. You will continue to receive your monthly bill, but your bill will now show that a portion of your energy is produced by your solar panels and paid for at the OurSolar rate.
How will this help increase sustainability?
OurSolar is a local power source, which allows the community to have more control over a portion of their power supply. Generating energy with solar power creates no pollution or carbon dioxide emissions, and is a clean, renewable, and sustainable alternative energy source.
Can anyone sign up for Paulding Putnam’s OurSolar program?
Only Paulding Putnam Electric members may subscribe to panels.
What happens if I move?
If you move to another location within Paulding Putnam’s service territory, your subscription can “move” with you! If you move out of the service territory, you have the following options:
1. Transfer your subscription to another member of Paulding Putnam
2. Transfer your subscription as part of the sale or rental of your home
3. Return your subscription back to Paulding Putnam at no cost
What if I cancel the agreement early?
If the agreement is cancelled early due to moving or death, then the options under “What happens if I move?” apply. If the agreement is cancelled early due to a different reason, then the subscription may be returned to Paulding Putnam by paying an administrative fee of $50 per panel.
Where is the solar array located?
The OurSolar array is located on Gasser Road in Paulding, Ohio, next to Alex Products.