Are you Interested in a Community Solar Project?
Providing Information and Getting Members Input
Crow Wing Power is in the process of educating our members about what a Community Solar or (photovoltaic) project might look like and cost. We are conducting surveys in February 2016 to determine how many of our members would pay to participate in a project.
We would like to provide this information to give our members a general idea of what a Community Solar project might mean for Crow Wing Power members. Details are not finalized.
What is Community Solar?
Community Solar arrays are built so that those wanting solar-generated electricity, but don’t have the room, nor want the hassle, can participate by purchasing part of the community array in the form of shares.
Crow Wing Power has not designed their own project at this time, but facts and figures in this informational piece are based on a project that has been done by a neighboring cooperative. Based on their 46 kW project with 112 panels, the purchase of one panel or share would probably be between $1,200 to $1,600, which would include maintenance and insurance. That’s only a hypothetical figure based on the projects we’ve seen in Minnesota.
Return on Investment
For the price you pay for one panel, the electricity generated by one panel would be credited on your electric bill. At current rates and based on others’ experience, you would get an approximate credit of $4.00 to $5.00 a month on your electric bill (using the current retail rate of electricity). In 20 plus years you will have been paid back for your investment.
If I’m a participant and move what are my options?
If you move off of Crow Wing Power’s service area, you will no longer be a member and will have to sell your share(s) to another member. We will look into the opportunity to help facilitate the resale.
The neighboring cooperative’s solar array is 104 feet by 49 feet with 112 panels. If and when Crow Wing Power decides to proceed, our particular project size and cost would be customized to fit our needs.
At this time, solar costs more than our current fix of fuels in the Midwest. Currently there are Federal and State tax incentives, however those are slated to end after 2016. The projected costs in this educational piece are only based on current incentives. If the tax credits go away, prices would be higher. The credits are not given to individuals, but are grouped and reduce the total cost of the project.
What if Crow Wing Power doesn’t have enough people interested in purchasing the community solar project?
If there are 112 panel, theoretically it will take about 112 people to participate (if each member supports one panel).
Crow Wing Power will not build a community solar project unless the members that want it pay for it. We are a cooperative and have to look out for all of our members, providing them with the least cost power and best reliability. Therefore a project like this that costs more than our conventional sources. Can only be supported by those that want to pay for it. It cannot be subsidized by those that do not.
We are conducting random phone and online survey's February 2016.
Remember this is for information only, it is to give you a general idea of what a Community Solar project might mean for Crow Wing Power members. Details are not finalized.
Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.