Home Solar

BEMC is among the top co-ops in NC for rooftop-mounted solar, with nearly 450 solar rooftop installations, and the numbers are growing!

If you’re considering solar power, we’re here to help.

More and more of our local members are interested in pursuing home solar installations, and as your local energy partner, we want to work with you to navigate the process. If home solar seems like a good fit, please give us a call so we can provide you with additional information and installation requirements while making sure the grid stays safe and reliable for all co-op members.

How does home solar really work?

Whether you are interested in mounting solar panels to your roof or would like to add ground-mounted solar to your property, the sunlight-to-electricity conversion process works the same:

  1. During daylight hours on low-cloud days, sunlight will shine on your panels. These panels are often called photovoltaic or PV panels because they support the photovoltaic process of absorbing and converting light to electricity.
  2. The newly created electricity must be converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is the kind of current used in the United States because it can be “stepped up” to support traveling long distances and “stepped down” to an appropriate voltage for household appliances. The conversion to alternating current occurs in a device called an inverter.
  3. In most cases, the newly formed alternating current runs through your home’s electrical panel and powers some of your home energy needs. If your home needs more energy than the solar panels can provide, you will draw metered power from the grid, just as you would have before installing panels.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm interested in home solar. What's the first step I should take?

You’ve come to the right place. We encourage you to thoroughly review the information here on our home solar page and gain a deeper understanding of your home energy use by logging into our SmartHub app. You can use this information to begin to consider whether solar is right for you.

If you have done some research and think solar could be right for you, please – give us a call. We will provide you with all the information you need about our rates and interconnection requirements so you can have an informed discussion with a solar installer. There are more than 100 electric utilities in North Carolina, and sometimes solar installers might miss facts and details specific to our co-op. The installer will need our information to provide you with an accurate financial overview.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen instances in our community where members have been misled and misinformed because of inaccurate information. We’re here to be your energy partner throughout the process, helping you to arrive at a decision right for your home and personal goals.

Another thing we always recommend is to improve the energy efficiency of your home. A more efficient home stretches your energy dollar further, and you’ll recover the expense of your solar investment more quickly.

Ground-mounted, rooftop or community solar - which is right for me?

Ground-mounted and rooftop solar are both home solar solutions, and their difference are highlighted below for your consideration.

Ground-Mounted Rooftop
Can place the array in an optimal location. Most commonly installed; does not require expansive amounts of land and eliminates risk of tampering.
Easy to clean panels and make any needed repairs. Typically, less expensive than ground-mounted arrays.
  Utilizes unused space.

If home solar isn’t the right fit for you, we have the perfect alternative called community solar. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, including BEMC are leaders in community solar, which allows co-op members to purchase the energy output of an ideally located, shared solar garden. This approach removes the barrier of a significant upfront investment and makes solar an option for those who can’t install rooftop solar, like renters and people with highly shaded homes. Check out the community solar section of our website to see if it is the right fit for you.

Will I be compensated for my solar generation?

This is a common question and a concept often clouded by misinformation.

Each of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives is independent and governed locally by an elected board of directors, which is responsible for setting and reviewing policies. This means our policies may differ from our neighboring co-ops because of our local circumstances and needs.

  • We offer:
    Net Metering – When your home uses more energy than your solar installation produces, it will draw from the grid and run through your electric meter, just like normal. When your solar installation produces more energy than your home needs, the amount of excess energy will be captured as it passes through your meter and is delivered to the BEMC grid. Your monthly bill will reflect a deduction for the energy you drew from the grid and a credit for what you contributed back; you are responsible for the “net” difference.

At BEMC, we compensate our members for their contributions at the full retail rate – or the same amount we bill you when you draw power from the grid. Most homes, however, consume the majority, if not all of the energy generated by the solar array.

Bottom line – Because policies vary, we encourage you to please contact us to make sure you have all the facts before purchasing solar installation. Solar installation companies may not be familiar with our co-op’s policies, and we don’t want anyone to enter into an agreement with misinformation.

Can I calculate my potential savings?

Yes! The U.S. Department of Energy has a great tool for providing cost estimates on home solar installations. Please keep in mind this is an estimate only; you will have a more accurate financial picture by working with us and a professional solar installation company.

Does BEMC support home solar?

Yes! We support all energy solutions that are a fit for our members, uphold the safety and reliability of our grid and improve the diversity of our resources while also ensuring that costs are not shifted to members without home solar panels. Our nation’s electric grid is shifting from a model where large, centrally located generating plants produce power and push it to the far corners of the grid to a model that incorporates more distributed energy resources and technologies, like home solar. This is an exciting time in our industry, and we want our members to make a choice that is right for them. If your choice leads you to solar installation, we ask that you please let us know and work with us so you can make informed decisions and incorporate your new installation into our plans for managing electric traffic across our grid.

One of the current limitations of solar energy is that it must be used as soon as it is produced unless it is coupled with a battery storage system. Often, home solar systems are most productive in the middle of the day, when demand for electricity is typically low, which can create a mismatch between electricity coming onto the grid and what is necessary to supply our members. We are working with our members and power suppliers to manage this, and we firmly believe the value of home solar will increase as technology evolves and battery storage becomes more accessible.

Are there incentives to help me pay for home solar?

Yes, there is a federal solar tax credit that allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of installing solar from your federal taxes. There is no cap on its value, and the average savings is approximately $9,000 according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Please note, these incentives decrease in 2023 and 2024.

Contact us:

We’re here to help and best serve our member’s interests. By reviewing this page, you’ve taken an important first step.

We hope you’ll connect with us soon to learn more about our approach to home solar, get the accurate information you need to make informed decisions and find out how we can partner with you to maximize your solar investment.

Nicky Nance, Key Accounts & Renewables Specialist