As renewable energy technology advances and costs decline, renewable energy options, particularly residential solar installations, are rapidly becoming attractive co-op members. We offer a series of fact sheets to help answer questions you might have. As your trusted energy adviser, we suggest you call us first so you know what to expect when considering a solar generating system for your residence.
Before you install a renewable energy source for your property, we strongly recommend you do everything you can to improve your current energy-efficiency. A few simple measures such as adding insulation and weather stripping can reduce your overall energy consumption.
Small System Interconnect Policies & Rates
If you are planning to install a renewable energy system, you must contact the cooperative well in advance to coordinate the installation. All forms must be completed and approved by the cooperative, and all fees must be paid, before work begins. For an interconnected system, CCEC will purchase the energy generated at its avoided cost.
Solar Water Heating
Solar water heating technology is a simple method of harnessing the sun's energy to provide water heating in homes and businesses. These systems collect energy from the sun to heat air or a fluid. The air or fluid then transfers solar heat directly or indirectly to your water supply. Learn more here.
We collected data to gauge the cost benefits of residential solar water heating systems that two members installed at their homes. The data shows savings of 95 to 125 kWh of electricity a month, 780 to 1,500 kWh a year. Solar Water Heating Study
Geothermal Heat Pump
A geothermal heat pump (GHP) or ground source heat pump (GSHP) is a central heating and/or cooling system that transfers heat to or from the ground. ... Like a refrigerator or air conditioner, these systems use a heat pump to force the transfer of heat from the ground.
We assessed the effectiveness of a newly installed geothermal heat pump system at a member’s home in 2009. The homeowner saw a 30 percent reduction in his electricity use over the previous year.
'Green' Energy Credits
If you receive a solicitation to purchase green or renewable energy from an entity other than your cooperative, what is the seller selling? Members have asked questions after being contacted by an out-of-state company marketing “renewable energy.” In reality, the company’s offer is to purchase renewable attributes, sometimes called Renewable Energy Credits or RECs, not actual renewable energy, on your behalf.
CCEC buys energy from many different sources and generators. Currently, 54% of the energy is from zero-emission nuclear generation, 31% from natural gas, 4% from renewables, 3% from market purchases of unknown sources, and only 6% from coal-fired generation. In addition to the renewable energy purchased, the cooperative buys (RECs) sufficient to meet the mandates of the state’s Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.
RECs are non-tangible energy commodities that represent proof that electricity generated from an eligible renewable energy resource was fed into the electric grid.
The RECs purchased by the cooperative are required to be registered and approved by the NC Utilities Commission. Each REC that is delivered into North Carolina receives a registration number, which is retired in the year it is used to meet the state mandate. This process was developed to ensure RECs are valid and carefully monitored to ensure state laws and the mandate are being met. RECs offered for sale from an out-of-state source may not be registered in NC and could not be used for compliance purposes in our state.
Solicitations that promise green energy need to be carefully considered. One member who reviewed such an offer found that she would have her pay a 14% premium to receive green energy. In truth, she would still receive the same energy she has always received from CCEC. The 14% premium would likely be used to purchase RECs for the company – not the cooperative or any of its members – with no indication where the energy is generated or where the RECs are registered.
To sign up for this offer on the company’s website, the company requests your utility company online login information so they can pay that bill. You, in turn, would receive a consolidated bill consisting of the co-op bill, plus a markup for the renewable energy credits (RECs).
We support continued development of renewable energy resources, but the cost of those resources for our members has to be balanced with our overarching mission to provide them both reliable and affordable electricity. If you are approached with an offer and would like us to help you understand it, give us a call.