Bring a Little Sunshine Home
Introducing Co-op Solar: an easy, affordable way to start using clean solar energy from your local electric cooperative. With Co-op Solar, there are no expensive rooftop solar panels to buy, install, or maintain. We handle the solar power, and your home gets a little more sunshine. See how it works for yourself, or read on for some of our most frequently asked questions. You can even take a live look at how much solar power Co-op Solar is producing right this moment, and see how much you can start using. Want to learn more?
How Co-op Solar Works
Solar energy travels 93 million miles from the sun to the earth—and that’s just step one. Learn more about how Co-op Solar works.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
THE BASICS OF GETTING STARTED
Co-op Solar is a solar power program from your local electric cooperative. Unlike individual rooftop solar systems, Co-op Solar is a “community solar” system—a larger system that allows many co-op members to get the benefits of solar power.
To be eligible, you must be a member of a participating local electric cooperative. These co-ops include:
- Boone REMC
- Carroll White REMC
- Citizens Electric Corporation
- EnerStar Electric Cooperative
- Heartland REMC
- Jasper County REMC
- Kankakee Valley REMC
- LaGrange County REMC
- Miami-Cass REMC
- NineStar Connect
- Noble REMC
- Steuben County REMC
Currently, our arrays are located in Peru, Wanatah, Danville, LaOtto, and Wheatfield, IN; as well as Ste. Genevieve and Perryville, MO, and Paris, IL.
There are many ways to take control of your energy consumption. And the first step should always be to reduce how much you’re using through energy efficiency improvements. But once you’ve made those upgrades, there’s still more you can do to support green energy and your community. Co-op Solar means you decide how much clean, affordable solar power you use each month. It’s one more way you can take charge of your energy bill. Please note, Co-op Solar is not a security and you should not sign up as a way of investing in the solar industry or energy markets.
Maybe you should. But rooftop solar’s not right for everyone. Many homes just aren’t in a good location for rooftop solar. Rooftop systems can be expensive upfront. And if you’re a renter, you’re out of luck. Co-op Solar is for everyone. If you’re a member of your local electric cooperative, you can put the power of the sun to work for you. P.S.: No matter whether you’re thinking about rooftop panels or Co-op Solar, an Energy Advisor from your co-op can help you better understand both options and choose what’s right for you—and show you more ways to save energy and money.
When you participate in Co-op Solar, you are signing up for a subscription that provides you with the benefits of green energy produced from a 300-watt portion of our 6.8 MW solar array. We call each of these subscription units a block.
No. Unlike fossil fuels, the source of the energy is free. But, like every other fuel source, solar involves the cost of gathering energy and converting it into electricity—and all the costs of getting that power to you. Those costs will be figured into the total price you’ll pay for Co-op Solar power.
Our pricing plans are set to make sure that everyone can afford solar power. Each participating co-op has determined plans based on the needs of their members.
Absolutely! Your local co-op will advise you on how many blocks are available.
Not at all. There’s no equipment to purchase or maintain, and nothing to install. Since we own the solar arrays, we’re responsible for taking care of them. You can see a solar array being built here.
HOW CO-OP SOLAR WORKS
Instead of connecting directly to solar panels, you’re connected through your regular electric lines to solar arrays across the Midwest that convert sunlight into electricity. You get the benefits of solar power—without any onsite equipment or maintenance.
As with any solar array, cloudy weather means reduced solar production. But with Co-op Solar, you get the benefit of solar panels spread across three states—and a little bad weather over one array doesn’t mean the sun’s not shining on another. Plus, you’re always connected to co-op lines.
Unlike other sources of energy, solar power is intermittent and does not produce (or is reduced) during nighttime hours, cloudy weather, or when temperatures are too hot. These factors, along with the seasonal angle of the sun hitting the arrays, determine how much solar output is produced at a given time. Given these variables, we expect our solar arrays produce energy about 20 percent of the time. During the remaining 80 percent, we rely on other generation resources and the full infrastructure of lines, poles, and the electrical grid to supply power to our homes and businesses.
When solar power is added to the power grid, that electricity becomes indistinguishable from energy produced by other sources. The electrons that enter your home may be produced by solar, wind, landfill gas, natural gas, or other sources of generation. But as more solar power is added to the grid, we can lessen our reliance on fossil fuels. And we ensure that Co-op Solar dollars directly support solar generation. Learn more about the journey of solar power from the sun to your home.
The arrays are actually owned by Wabash Valley Power Association. We are a co-op of 23 electric cooperatives across Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri that provides them with wholesale power. We maintain the arrays so our member co-ops can provide Co-op Solar programs to their own members like you.
Co-ops who’ve joined up with Wabash Valley Power and other electric co-ops leverage significant savings and increase buying power. And since we’re a not-for-profit, we pass those cost-savings directly to our membership. It also makes it possible for more members to participate in a Co-op Solar program, since it’s offered at a lower cost.
A DEEP DIVE ON DETAILS
Now we’re in the nitty-gritty! Each block corresponds to a portion of our solar array that should produce within a range of about 100 – 500 kWh per year, depending on the weather. Talk to your local co-op to learn more about what that means for your home’s particular energy usage.
According to energy.gov:
- A 1000 Watt coffeemaker used for one hour each day 365 days per year uses 365 kWh per year (less than a block of Co-op Solar).
- A clothes dryer used once a week for four hours uses 580 kWh per year (more than a block of Co-op Solar).
- A 26-cubic-foot refrigerator uses approximately 725 kWh per year (about 1.4 blocks of Co-op Solar).
Generating energy with solar power creates no pollution or CO2 emissions, which is great for the environment. Solar power is a clean, renewable, and sustainable source of energy. And as solar power is adopted by more and more people, those benefits will really show. When you participate in Co-op Solar, you don’t just help preserve our environment the way it is—you help restore it to how it used to be.
Nope! The great thing about the Co-op Solar program is that you can get solar energy even if you’re renting a home or apartment.
If you move within the same service territory, your Co-op Solar shares will transfer with you to your new home or apartment. If you plan to move outside of the local electric utility’s service area, you’ll want to contact the local electric provider for more information on how this affects participation.
The purchase of a Co-op Solar block by the consumer does not represent the purchase of any ownership interest, right, or title in or to any portion of the property and assets comprising the Solar Projects (whether tangible, intangible, real, or personal) or constitute any type of securities related to such Solar Projects. All rights, title, and interest in the Solar Projects are owned by Wabash Valley Power Association, Inc.