Solar

BEMC is among the top co-ops in NC for residential solar, with over 800 solar installations, and the numbers are growing!

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

While BEMC may not directly sell or install solar solutions, we are here to support you in navigating the journey. Let us help you make informed decisions. Start by diving into our Member Guide to Home Solar, designed to kickstart your path towards a brighter future. If you have any questions along the way that BEMC can assist with, please contact us at netmeter@bemc.org or call us at (800) 842-5871.

How does home solar really work?

During daylight hours on low-cloud days, sunlight will shine on your panels. These panels absorb light and covert it directly to electricity.

The newly created electricity must be converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is what powers most homes in the United States. The conversion to AC occurs in a device called an inverter.

In most cases, the newly formed AC runs through your home’s electrical panel and powers some of your home’s energy needs. If your home needs more energy than the solar panels can provide, you will draw metered power from the grid. Conversely, when your solar panels produce surplus energy, it flows back into the grid, tracked by the same meter.

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm interested in home solar. What steps should I should take?

Great question! Here’s a path to help you make the best decision:

  1. Understand your energy use: Before making the switch, understanding your current energy consumption is key. Simply log in to your SmartHub account and navigate to “USAGE” in the top-left menu. From there, click “Usage Explorer” to see a detailed breakdown of your energy use for the past 12 months. This will help you and your potential solar installers estimate how much solar power you’d need to offset your typical energy costs.
  2. Compare usage with BEMC’s net meter rates: BEMC’s current net meter rate is 10.22₵ per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Learn the details of BEMC’s Net Metering program in our Member Guide to Home Solar, which explains how the solar energy you generate will reduce your energy bill and how any excess energy will be credited to you.
  3. Assess your solar potential: Consider the following:
    • Nearby shade trees. Contractors will also help evaluate shading, but also consider your own or your neighbor’s trees that are still growing and could shade your system in the future.
    • The age of your roof and how long until it will need to be replaced. If you expect to need a new roof within the next few years, you may want to consider making that improvement before installing solar.
    • Neighborhood or homeowner association (HOA) restrictions or approval requirements.
  1. Assess your options: We recommend getting multiple quotes and thoroughly researching the different solutions that each solar installation company can provide you. If you have any questions that we can help you with, please contact us at netmeter@bemc.org or 800-842-5871.
  2. Don’t forget home’s efficiency: A more efficient home stretches your energy dollar further, and you’ll recover the expense of your solar investment more quickly.

 

Does BEMC recommend a solar installation company?

While BEMC can’t recommend specific solar installation companies, we can provide you with the tools to make an informed decision. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Get Multiple Quotes: Compare pricing and proposals from several qualified installers in your area.
  • Check References and Reviews: Ask potential installers for references and check online review platforms, such as Google, Facebook, and Better Business Bureau, to see what past customers say.
  • Look for Experience and Qualifications: Ensure the company is insured and bonded, has a proven track record, and holds the necessary licenses and certifications.
  • Understand Warranties: Make sure you understand the warranties offered by both the installer and the solar panel manufacturer.
Will I be compensated for my solar generation?

Yes.  BEMC offers net metering, which credits you for excess solar power you send back to the grid.  Here’s how it works:

  • During the day, when your solar panels produce more electricity than you use, the extra power flows back to the grid.
  • At times when your solar panels aren’t producing enough (like at night), you’ll draw power from the grid as usual.
  • Your monthly bill reflects a net difference of kilowatt-hours (kWh) – the energy you used from the grid minus the credits you earned.

Any month, when your solar panels produce more energy (kWh) than you use, the excess gets stored as energy credits. These credits can then be used in future months when your energy needs are higher than what your panels can generate. Once a year, usually June or July depending on your billing cycle, BEMC will issue you a check as an annual settlement for any excess energy you put back into the electric grid (currently 10.22₵ per kWh).

Please check our Member Guide to Home Solar for more information.

Because policies vary, we encourage you to 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.

What is the process for residential solar panel approval/installation?

BEMC’s process is:

  • Submit the Residential Solar Interconnection Application. Attach the following:
      1. Proof of current homeowner’s insurance
      2. Single line diagrams of the proposed system
      3. All manufacturer’s cut sheets for all system equipment
  • Once your system is approved, an Interconnection Agreement will be sent requiring e-signature.
  • After your system install is complete, your installer will arrange for a licensed inspector to confirm your system meets code and local regulations.
  • When your system passes inspection, you will be given temporary permission to operate (PTO) your system while BEMC performs testing to ensure compliance with our interconnection standards. Results typically received within 5 – 10 business days following appointment.
  • Upon successful testing, you will receive final  PTO and a standard $35 service charge for the meter installation will be applied to your account.

Your system and meter are ready to start receiving and sending solar energy!

Since I had solar installed, my bill looks different. Why do I have 3 meters listed?

Understanding your bill after going solar can be confusing at first.  Here’s a breakdown of the 3 meters listed:

Consumption Meter: This still measures the total electricity BEMC delivers to your home each month.

Generation Meter: This meter tracks the excess electricity generated by solar panels, not used by your home, and sent back to the grid.

Net Meter: This meter shows the net difference between the electricity you consumed and the electricity your solar panels sent back to the grid. This is the meter reading used to calculate your bill charges.

Federal Tax Credit

Solar continues to become more affordable, and with federal tax incentives, are a viable option for many co-op members. A federal solar tax credit allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing solar from your federal taxes. There is no cap on its value, and the average savings is approximately $6,000 according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Please consult a tax professional for more information. These incentives decrease in 2032.

Calculate Savings

The U.S. Department of Energy and Google have helpful tools 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 understanding your energy use, net metering, working with us and a professional solar installation company. 

Solar Application

Getting solar installed? This application needs to be filled out by you or your solar installation company to ensure a safe and smooth connection process.

One approved, we’ll be in touch with the next steps.

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