Here Comes the Sun - Co-op Solar Now Available
Although electricity distributed by EnerStar Electric Cooperative includes renewable energy, some members are interested in taking the next step in utilizing renewables to power their home. If so, Co-op Solar is here to help you accomplish your goals.
Unlike privately owned solar arrays, Co-op Solar is a “community solar” system – a larger system that allows many co-op members to get the benefits of solar energy. Instead of connecting directly to your solar panels, you’re connected through your regular electric lines to solar arrays across the Midwest that convert sunlight into electricity. You get all the benefits of solar energy-without any onsite equipment or maintenance. In this voluntary program, any member, regardless of whether they own their home or rent, simply purchases “shares” of solar energy.
One benefit of Co-op Solar is that YOU decide how much solar energy you want and what works best for your family – there’s a plan for every budget. Maybe you want to just dip your toe in with little commitment. We have a plan for that. Or maybe you are looking for a long-term investment for future energy needs. We have a plan for that too!
SunLite is easy and affordable for members who want to go green. With this program, a solar share costs just 50 cents per month in addition to the cooperative’s standard rates and charges. Each share is estimated to produce an average of 43 kilowatt-hours per month. Members may select up to 100 percent of their expected electric usage, not to exceed 83 shares.
Let’s look at an average residential account that uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours per month. In this example, let’s say the family would like most of their energy consumption sourced from solar energy. They would need 22 solar shares at a cost of $11 per month. EnerStar will work with you to help you determine how much solar energy you want to meet your budget and goals. SunLite is a 1-year commitment with an option to renew and change the plan annually.
SunShare is designed for those interested in owning a solar array, but there are obstacles preventing it. It could be that the property is not conducive (not enough room, shade trees) or the member doesn’t own the property. It may be because the member doesn’t want the hassle of the equipment installation or maintenance.
To participate, each SunShare costs $850. It is a 20-year commitment with a payback in future years. All shares sold will expire on December 31, 2037, and share prices will be prorated after January 1, 2018. Don’t worry, we will explain all that! EnerStar is conducting member meetings to help members decide if SunShare is right for them. The next SunShare meeting will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017 at the Marshall Public Library meeting room in Marshall, Ill. There will be two opportunities at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. To reserve your spot, call EnerStar’s Kelly McCrocklin at 1-800-635-4145 to RSVP. It is important that we have your personal account information at the meeting so we can best educate you on your options.
The cooperative is offering the opportunity of “gifting” SunShare to tax deductible entities, like schools and churches, which are served electricity by EnerStar. With each solar share gift, the non-profit entity receives the gift of free electricity from a solar share for the next 20 years. The cooperative would work with the donors to determine the maximum amount of shares the entity could receive, up to the 83-share maximum. It is an opportunity to give a gift that keeps giving! For more information on SunShare donations, contact EnerStar’s Angela Griffin at 800-635-4145, extension 103. Information will also be available at the member meetings.