Interest in “green” energy and ways to save money on utility bills continues to grow and some of our cooperative members may be considering the installation and interconnection of a solar array system. As your trusted energy advisor, contact CVEC as soon as you begin considering installing your own solar array. Our team will walk you through the process of connecting to the power grid, from pre-inspection to post-inspection, at no additional cost.
Before deciding to install a solar array system on your property, determine how much the system will affect your monthly electric costs and how long it will take you to break even. In many cases, it’s more beneficial to upgrade your home’s efficiency measures prior to installing a distributed generation, like a solar array, resource in order to reduce your energy bill.
- https://pvwatts.nrel.gov/ - Estimate the cost and energy production of potential renewable installations.
- https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits - Provides an overview of federal solar tax credits available to subsidize installation costs.
- https://txses.org/ - Learn more about Texas solar and area installers.
THE INTERCONNECTION AGREEMENT
Distributed generation is a significant and complex undertaking. There are many safety specifications designed to ensure protection of your family, home, and community. Our engineering team will provide you with an interconnection agreement and guidelines that will outline the process that must be followed to ensure the safe and successful interconnection of your renewable generation to Concho Valley Electric’s power grid. There are several regional and national solar installation companies to choose from, and it is important that they adhere to the provided guidelines and the interconnection agreement when installing the solar array system.
CONNECTING TO THE GRID
At times, your project may deliver energy to the grid using our power lines. Following the interconnection agreement and guidelines for interconnecting will help prevent improper installation that could potentially cause danger or compromise the integrity of your system and our grid. After installation, our team will inspect the solar array to ensure it will interact safely with CVEC’s distribution system. All solar array systems must pass an inspection by a CVEC employee to be connected to the electric grid.
GENERATING RENEWABLE SOLAR ENERGY
If you have an interest in installing solar energy systems on your property, please visit the Concho Valley Electric website for the Interconnection Agreement and Guidelines. Contact us via email at [email protected] or by calling 325-655-6957. We look forward to helping you on the journey towards renewable energy.
Distributed Generation FAQs
How much will solar cost to install at my home?
This all depends on what size the system is and where it will be mounted. A general estimate is around $3 to $4 per watt. For example, an 8,000-watt (8 kW DC) system might cost you approximately $24,000 to $32,000. If applicable, a federal solar tax credit may be available to subsidize this cost. CVEC recommends contacting multiple installers and getting multiple quotes to compare.
With solar, will I still have power during a CVEC outage?
No, due to safety regulations, an AC source is required for your solar array to operate. Therefore, if your power goes out, so will your solar production. This keeps CVEC linemen safe while they are actively working to restore power.
Can CVEC help me analyze the quotes?
Yes, we can look over the quotes and provide recommendations based on your goals.
What size DG Facility should I install?
The size of the DG Facility should be sized to the usage requirements at that location. When submitting for quotes, contractors will be able to make recommendations, however, below are some steps to help size your DG Facility on your own.
STEP 1: Contact CVEC and request a 12-month usage and demand history. You will be able to see consumption trends when looking at the usage (kWh) and the demand (kW) values for each month.
STEP 2: Sites such as pvwatts.nrel.gov are great to model solar production. This will provide you a monthly estimate on how much a DG Facility of any given size will produce based on a few variables and your geographic location.
STEP 3: Compare the monthly kWh data from STEP 1 and STEP 2 to customize your system to your needs.
STEP 4: If the system is greater than 15 kW AC, verify that the size of the DG Facility does not exceed 110% of your maximum historic demand.
Will I still receive a bill from CVEC after I install solar?
Yes. Solar arrays do not produce energy 24/7. Even during a sunny day, periodic cloud cover can cause temporary fluctuations in production from your solar. This is where the CVEC grid will cover those shortages. Of course, after the sun goes down, all your electricity will come from the CVEC grid.
Should solar power be my first option to reduce my energy bill?
In many cases, it is more beneficial to upgrade your home's efficiency measures prior to installing a distributed generation resource in order to reduce your energy bill. Generally, you want your home to be as efficient as possible and then investigate solar power options.