Buy or Lease Solar Power in TexasBy Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer Published: October 15th, 2012
Members of the largest electric cooperative in the United States will soon have additional ways to access electricity generated from solar panels.
Pedernales Electric Co-op plans to make available to interested members the options of buying a portion of a large-scale solar project or leasing rooftop solar panels.
“Increasing our commitment to renewable energy brings value to our members and the co-op,” said Patrick Cox, vice president of the board of directors of PEC.
The board set a goal in August for the cooperative to achieve 30 percent of its electric generation capacity requirements from renewable resources.
The Johnson City, Texas-based distribution co-op announced the residential solar leasing program and community solar offering during its second annual Hill Country Solar Tour on Oct. 6.
The distributed generation pilot programs will provide solar options to all members, while ensuring costs stay with participating members. PEC is working with NRG SolarLife and CommunitySun to develop these programs for implementation in 2013.
Solar leasing could be available around the start of the year. The NRG SolarLife option could benefit members by lowering the up-front costs associated with residential solar installations.
CommunitySun could benefit both residential and commercial members by lowering costs through economies of scale.
The programs are being developed in response to growing interest in solar technology from Pedernales EC’s more than 200,000 consumer-members.
“We have seen a definite increase in interconnections and member interest in solar technology in the past few years,” said RB Sloan, the co-op’s CEO. He added that 142 of the 176 interconnections now on the co-op’s distribution system utilize solar power.
The co-op also partnered with the Texas Solar Energy Society for the first Hill Country Solar Tour in October 2011.
Hundreds of people visited Central Texas homes and businesses, including the co-op’s Oak Hill office, to look at solar installations during the one-day event.
This year’s tour attracted even more interest, said Sloan. “The Hill Country Solar Tour has served as a great opportunity to network with industry experts and educate PEC members and the community.”
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