Community Solar

Go green with BEMC’s Community Solar program—a clean energy option for our members.

BEMC’s Community Solar program provides an option to members who wish to go green but don’t want the hassle or expense of installing and maintaining their solar panels.

Through this option, members can lease panels from one of two Community Solar farms and receive a credit on their monthly bill for the output power generated by the panels they lease.

Currently, BEMC has two Community Solar arrays: one on Highway 17 in Bolivia in Brunswick County, and one at the Peacock substation in Chadbourn in Columbus County. There are more than 700 panels available for lease between the two arrays.

Community Solar is available to any member who wishes to participate.

Still, it is especially ideal for renters and condo owners who cannot install their solar arrays due to property restrictions. Contact us to find out how you can participate in Community Solar.

Community Solar Generation: Bolivia County, NC
Community Solar Generation: Chadbourn County, NC

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Brunswick Electric offering a community solar array?

Our members have shown a strong interest in alternative energy sources. Solar arrays not only make solar energy more affordable for everyone, it is well-suited for those who don’t want to take on the responsibilities of ownership.

Who is this program intended for?

The program is voluntary and available to all BEMC members interested in using renewable energy.  Community solar is a more affordable, low-risk way to enjoy the benefits of solar energy without the hassle of designing, permitting, installing, maintaining, and insuring your own PV solar array.  To participate, you must be a BEMC member in good standing with an active electric account.

Will anything be installed at my home?

No, all equipment will be installed on BEMC property. BEMC will be responsible for operating, maintaining, and insuring the array for the 20-year life of the program.

How much does it cost and is there a contract?

Panels are $823 each and you must sign a Community Solar Agreement. Payment for the panel(s) can be by cash, check, or credit card. Remaining units will be discounted each year until the project is fully subscribed. This will allow all participants to be on the same 20-year time frame.

Is financing available?

Yes, we have 12 or 24-month financing options available at 5% interest. The payment of $36.00/mo for 24 months or $72.00/mo for 12 months, will be added to your monthly electric bill. You will receive a credit for the output on every bill and once the loan is paid off, you will really begin to see the benefits of your solar energy.

How much electricity does each panel generate?

Each panel is capable of producing up to 312 watts (and is estimated to produce 481 kWh starting the first year). We expect it to average out at just over 40 kWh per month per panel. This translates to about $46 in solar credits the first year. 

Can I buy output from more than one panel?

There are currently 700 units available. BEMC members may purchase the output of units as they want until the system is fully subscribed. The average kWh output from the total number of panels purchased cannot exceed the service address’ average annual electric usage.

Do I "own" the panels?

NCEMC (Statewide) owns the actual panels, located at the Brunswick County and Columbus County solar farms. You own the energy that is produced by the panel. All maintenance, repair, and insurance costs are included.

Am I eligible for the 30% federal investment tax credit?

No. Since you own the rights to the energy production of the units and not the solar units themselves, you are not eligible for state or federal renewable tax credits. However, you are getting the benefit of the tax incentives in a reduced upfront cost. To determine any other tax implications, please contact your tax preparer.

How much will I save on my bill?

By enrolling in the BEMC Community Solar program, you are entitled to the energy produced by each solar panel you purchase until the year 2036. As energy prices increase, the value of the kWh produced by your panel will increase. We estimate that if energy prices increase 3% per year, your simple payback is 16 years. If prices increase 5% per year, the payback is 14 years. 

How is the credit to my monthly bill determined?

You will receive a monthly credit on your bill based on the output of the system. The total energy produced by the entire solar array each month will be divided by 738 (number of units total). Each participating member’s bill will be reduced by the number of kWhs their share of the overall project produced – priced at the current BEMC energy component of the member’s retail rate.

Where are the Community solar arrays located?

In Brunswick County the array is on Hwy 17 at the north end of Bolivia.  In Columbus County, it is located next to our Peacock substation near Chadbourn. Both are fenced in for security.

If I don't buy now, will there be future solar arrays once this one is sold out?

Possibly, but the price, size, and energy credit may not be the same.

I am a senior citizen; will a solar panel benefit me?

As regular retail rates increase, the value of your solar energy increases too. The panel can be sold or left as a valuable legacy gift to children or others.

What happens if I move?

If you move within the BEMC territory, you can transfer your solar credits to your new address.  If you move outside of the service area, you may sell your share back to Brunswick Electric.

What happens at the end of the 20-year agreement?

The community solar agreement terminates after 20 years.  However, BEMC will monitor and evaluate advances in solar technology to determine whether extension of the agreement may make sense at that time.

Who is paying for this project?

Brunswick Electric has worked with a statewide co-op organization to finance the project and take advantage of federal tax benefits. The cost of the solar array does not impact our current rates or members who don’t participate in the BEMC Community Solar project. The cost of the project, as well as maintenance and insurance until the year 2036, is covered in the price of each panel.

Is this project being subsidized by BEMC members who are not interested in the solar array?

No. This project is not subsidized by the entire membership. The costs associated with the solar array are paid for by those who enroll.