Roanoke SolarShare

Roanoke SolarShare

Roanoke SolarShare: Investing in Roanoke Electric Co-op member-owners and the future of the diverse communities we serve

 

About Roanoke SolarShare

Roanoke Electric Co-op member-owners choosing to participate in the Roanoke SolarShare community solar program purchase the energy output from solar panels for a one-time investment or through a monthly bill payment. The co-op builds and maintains the solar panel system and covers all insurance and maintenance costs. The participating member-owner then receives a credit on their monthly electric bill for the solar energy produced by the panels.

The cooperative spirit!

The Roanoke SolarShare community solar program was created in the same spirit that drove the creation of Roanoke Electric Cooperative over 75 years ago. At that time, electricity was out of reach for residents in communities that would one day be served by the co-op, as investor-owned utilities did not find the rural area profitable. Roanoke Electric was formed of, by and for the people when they joined together to create the not-for-profit co-op in order to power their lives. Today, solar energy is out of reach for a lot of people. Among other barriers, it can be expensive to set up and maintain. So the co-op determined – just as its founders did decades ago – to find a way to make solar energy available to the member-owners.

Advantages of Community Solar:

  • Low cost, one-time or monthly fee;
  • No hassling with maintenance (the co-op will take care of that!);
  • The location of the Roanoke SolarShare site is well suited for a solar installation, so you can be sure you’re getting the most out of the sun’s potential. Site suitability is often an issue with residential installations;
  • A community solar program like Roanoke SolarShare perfect for renters who want to be involved with renewable energy and who might otherwise be prohibited by landlord lease and rental contracts;
  • No red tape with zoning restrictions or home owners’ association regulations;
  • Member-owners facing financial hardship now have yet another co-op option to reduce their monthly utility bill;
  • Solar energy output will be credited right to the member-owner’s electric bill.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the solar farm, and when was it constructed?
The community solar farm is located next to our headquarters building. It began producing solar power in January 2015.

How many panels are available?
There are 300 panels, and you can  purchase the energy output for as many panels as you like in blocks of ten panels each. Therefore, 30 blocks of solar panels are available through a onetime payment or monthly subscription fee on your utility bill. In addition you will be credited monthly on your utility for the value of the electricity generated by the block(s) you purchase at a rate of $.0585 cents a kilowatt hour. 

Can I purchase the output of more than one block of ten panels?
Yes. All 30 blocks of unsubscribed panels are available for purchase. You can also review our Community Solar Agreement that will need to be completed before the purchase.

What does it mean to purchase the rights to Production Credits?

When you sign up for Roanoke SolarShare, you are not actually purchasing one block or more of ten solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Rather, you are purchasing the solar energy produced by the PV panels. In essence you are purchasing the rights to the proportion of energy produced by the community solar to which you have subscribed.

What is the cost to purchase the monthly output on a block of ten panels?

The cost for the block of ten solar panels is $20 a month added to your utility bill as a subscription fee.

How will I receive the value of the electricity generated by a block of ten panels?

The value of the electricity will be credited to your electric bill monthly based on the solar electricity generation of the same period from the previous year. The value of the benefit will fluctuate from month to month based on the time of year and weather patterns.

What should I anticipate as an average monthly bill credit for the value of the solar that my block of ten panels will generate?

The co-op anticipates the average monthly benefit credited on your utility bill will be $21.60 for the value of electricity generated by one block of ten panels, based on last year’s output of electricity from the solar farm.

So, I may get a return on my investment if I purchase the output of solar energy from a block of panels?

Yes! Using the $20 monthly subscription fee and the anticipated value of $21.60 for the output from the solar panels, the monthly return on investing is $1.60, an 8% return on your investment in the sun. Note some months it could be less if the sun does not shine for several days.

Are there options through community solar to support co-op member-owners that have trouble paying their monthly utility bills?

Yes! With close to 30 percent of member-owner households in this region having an income of less than $25,000 a year, the co-op understands that paying the monthly power bill can be a struggle for many in our community. In order to ensure that member-owners facing financial hardship are not excluded from the savings and community benefits offered by Roanoke SolarShare, residential and business co-op member-owners and can make a onetime donation and/ or support a fellow member-owner household in need by paying the monthly $20 subscription fee for a block of ten panels and donating the value of the solar output. The solar output, estimated to be $21.60 monthly will be credited as a reduction on a qualifying household’s monthly utility bill.

Can business, local government and/or houses of worship support Roanoke Electric co-op member-owners in need of financial assistance on their utility bills?

Yes. A onetime tax deductible donation of $4,080 will provide an average $21.60 monthly benefit to one household through 2034 – the remaining anticipated life span of the community solar project. The co-op will select the member-owner recipient based on Co-op and/or local Department of Social Services agency eligibility guidelines. The specific member-owner recipients may change over project period based on eligibility and Roanoke SolarShare project needs

Can I select the person/household to receive my contribution or will the co-op determine the recipients?

Roanoke Electric Cooperative will select member owner recipients of the monthly credit based on need based criteria such as  household income.  

I’m interested, what are my options to participate in Roanoke SolarShare?

  • Steward: the Roanoke SolarShare subscriber will pay a monthly subscriber rate of $20 for 10 panels and reap all the benefits from the monthly subscription, an estimated $21.60 based on the anticipated output of the 10 panels.
  • Ambassador: the subscriber pays the monthly $20 subscription fee and donates the value of the solar electricity output to a low income member. The low income member owner will have no subscription fee and instead will see the credit for the output of the 10 solar panel as a monthly reduction on their utility bill anticipated to be $21.60 and ascribed to the [insert name] low income community solar project.
  • Leader: provides for the opportunity for business and nonprofits to provide a one time or annual contribution of larger amounts to support to Roanoke EC’s low income member owners.
  • Benefactor (individual or business) may provide a tax deductible donation of $20 or more to provide a $21.60 credit to a co-op member-owner’s utility bill. The suggested Benefactor donation is $240, which will provide a member-owner facing financial hardship with a $259 credit to their utility bill over the course of a year.

The following table illustrates the participation levels, monthly investment cost and resulting financial savings for the participating member-owner:

Roanoke SolarShare Participation Levels

 

Number of panels

Cost to Roanoke SolarShare Supporter

Approx. Monthly Benefit to SolarShare Supporter

Monthly benefit to one member-owner SolarShare participant identified as being in need of financial assistance

Steward

10

$20/mo.

$21.60

n/a

Ambassador

10

$20/mo.

n/a

$21.60

Leader

10

$4,080

n/a

$21.60 monthly through 2034

Benefactor (Suggested donation $240)

10

$20 or greater

n/a

________________________________ $21.60 monthly per $20 donated; $259 annually per $240 donated; $518 annually per $480 donated

 

What are the eligibility requirements for participation in the low-income portion of the Roanoke SolarShare community solar program?

The co-op will be partnering with area DSS agencies to identify eligible member-owner households.

What happens if I move?

When you sign the Roanoke Electric Cooperative Community Solar Agreement you agree to an ongoing annual commitment through December 31, 2034. However, the member-owner subscriber may opt out of this commitment with 30 days’ notice at no penalty.

How does the power I subscribe to get to my house?

The solar generated electricity will go directly into the power grid and utilized in your house the same way as electricity generated from the co-op’s other sources of energy. By supporting community solar, you are directly supporting the ability to utilize energy coming from the sun shining on your community, helping to decrease your co-op’s reliance on power generated by fossil fuels.  

What if the solar farm is damaged by weather or natural catastrophe, resulting in an inability for the farm to produce at its maximum capacity?

In the event that the Roanoke SolarShare farm is unable to perform at maximum capacity due to an outside uncontrollable force, such as weather or natural catastrophe, the co-op is under no obligation to continue paying the participating member-owner production capacity credits and/or to secure an alternative source of solar electric generation to offset the lost production from the Roanoke SolarShare farm, until such time as the detrimental effects caused by catastrophe can be repaired or remedied.

Refer to Section 6.4 of the Roanoke Electric Cooperative Community Solar Agreement.

What happens if I don’t subscribe to a large enough percentage to cover all of my energy needs?

You can subscribe to as much or as little a percentage of your average monthly electricity use as you like. There is no requirement to offset all your electricity use from with energy generated by the solar farm.

What if I want to invest in more solar panels later on? Can the percentage that I initially subscribed to be changed?

Yes, you would enter into a new Roanoke SolarShare agreement with the co-op.

How do I sign up?

Easy! Just give us a call at 252-209-2236.