We are committed to meeting the needs of our members with green energy solutions.
Every large purchase requires thorough considerations and careful planning. Buying and installing solar panels is no exception. To avoid overspending, it is especially crucial to do accurate calculations and surround yourself with knowledgeable professionals. That’s where we come in. We’ve supplied the following steps to ensure that our Missouri members make the right choice when it comes to installing a form of power generation, like solar.
Step 1: decide if solar is right for you
This is not always an easy answer. Read our Solar FAQs and other resources before making the decision on whether solar energy is right for you.
If you are looking to solar to reduce your energy bill, you should determine how much energy a system will produce first. Use the PV watts calculator, provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, to learn the annual estimated kilowatt-hour production and value for different size systems at your home or business. Then, contact WRVEC to compare your energy use with a solar system output.
Step 2 – Contact WRVEC professionals
As your electric cooperative, we are your source for energy and information. With hundreds of WRVEC members opting for net metering, we know a thing or two about solar PV systems. If you would like to install and operate power generation on the WRVEC system, we recommend you review the following:
- Make your home more energy efficient before buying a solar system. This can cut energy usage and potentially reduce the size of your new solar energy system – saving you money.
- Call our team to answer questions, provide resource materials, and determine your energy needs.
- Choose a reputable contractor/installer. It’s important to compare bids, check references and examine contracts before committing.
- Make sure, prior to any purchase, that you have applied with WRVEC to interconnect your power generation and that you have met all requirements. (See Step 3)
- Maintain good records of all pre-purchase and post-purchase data. You never know when that will come in handy.
Step 3 – Make a Formal Application to WRVEC
You can start the process by submitting the appropriate application, as well as ensuring the technology you choose meets requirements. It is likely you will have to get the vendor involved in submitting the application.
Upon receipt of the application and other required documentation, our engineer will review the application for approval. If your application is denied, WRVEC will provide information as to the requirements for approval. Further interconnection studies may need to be executed depending on system size and requirements.
Once approved by WRVEC, the Interconnection Agreement shall be executed and any costs due to WRVEC will need to be paid prior to implementation. Prior to physical interconnection, a WRVEC representative will inspect for proper operation and installation.
Step 4: Or would you like to buy Green power from WRVEC?
Our Green Power Program limits carbon emissions by sourcing renewable energy for residential, commercial and industrial members that wish to play an active role in the development of renewable energy. The program was created in 2003 and recently enhanced in 2020 to better reflect the needs of our membership. Program benefits include:
- A fixed-rate green power/renewable energy credit option for all members
- Allows members to purchase enough energy for 100% of their energy usage
- Completely voluntary program with six-month billing cycles
There is no noticeable difference in electric service with the Green Power Program. The renewable energy purchased by the members of WRVEC is pooled with other participants from our power provider, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. By choosing renewable energy, you are supporting the development of renewable energy sources — which is a benefit for everyone.
For more information about the Green Power Program, check out the member fact sheet below!
WRVEC prides itself on offering members affordable rates. We continue to do so through net metering – a service that enables customers to use their own generation from on-site renewable energy systems to offset a portion of their electric energy consumption. When members generate electricity in excess of their demand, the energy runs back through the meter and is recorded and credited against the customer’s monthly electricity purchases. Member generation of solar power is most-common, but net metering can also be accomplished with alternative energy sources.
Members must apply for a net meter and complete WRVEC’s pre- and post-construction system requirements, outlined in the Interconnection Agreement. Once approved, WRVEC will visit the member’s property to install the net meter. Note, our approval process may take up to 90 days for approval.
The following graphic illustrates how WRVEC members stay connected to the grid while utilizing a solar power generation system.
Solar panels are the most noticeable component of a solar energy system. The solar panels are installed outside the home, typically on the roof and convert sunlight into electricity - in the form of direct current, DC, power. Also known as Photovoltaic, PV, Panels.
DC energy flows to the inverter, which transforms it into alternating current, AC, power and synchronizes it with the grid power. AC power is used by the majority of all home appliances. The solar panels can be disconnected for maintenance via the array DC disconnect, located on the inverter.
The power meter measures the amount of power used and exported by the consumer after the energy is transformed.
This is another switch used to disconnect the solar energy system from the home for maintenance.
The power is piped into the main breaker panel (not pictured, but typically located inside the home) which distributes the electricity throughout the house.
Power lines distribute electricity to your home. Excess electricity is sent back to the grid through the power lines when the system produces more electricity than you use.
The extra electricity is purchased by WRVEC's power supplier and is used to power the homes of other members.
That excess energy purchased is reflected as a credit on your billing statement.
Battery Pack (optional)
Solar energy systems produce electricity during the daytime, when the sun is shining. However, your home demands electricity at night and on cloudy days. Batteries can be added to the system to offset this mismatch, but batteries are not a required part of a solar energy system.
Charge Controller (optional)
Batteries can be overcharged if fed continuous voltage. The charge controller regulates the voltage, preventing overcharging and allowing charging when required. The equipment is only needed if a battery pack is installed. Also known as a charge regulator.
Solar energy systems work when sunlight hits a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel and causes electric current to flow. The produced direct current (DC) is then converted by an inverter to alternating current (AC), needed for use by household appliances. An electrical panel distributes energy throughout your house or business and any excess can be sold to our power suppliers through net metering.
That depends on a few factors: 1) The size of your system. Note that you can start out small and add on. 2) Your site. It’s recommended to have solar PV panels in an area shade-free from 9-3 p.m. 3) Your region. The more sunny days in your area, the more electricity you’ll be able to generate. You can find online calculators to help answer this question in more detail.
Your system will not collect sunlight at night and on cloudy days. Battery-backed systems use on-site storage to store excess energy to use during these times. However, this option will add significant cost and maintenance to your system. Most people opt for grid-connected systems for 24/7 energy access, reduced cost, maintenance, and high reliability – provided by WRVEC.
Most grid-connected solar PV systems shut down to prevent back-feeding electricity into power lines that may be damaged or in repair. This prevents injuries, and even death, to those working on the line.
Particularly on sunny days when your energy use can be low, your system may produce excess energy that can flow back to the grid and be sold through Understanding Net Metering.
The price of a solar PV system varies depending on size or generating capacity, quality, and complexity of the system. Installation costs depend on the system installed, as well as, home layout and construction. An average 4 kW system may cost between $11,000 and $15,000. The federal government has a 26% tax credit from 2020 through 2022. It will be reduced to 22% in 2023.
Certified solar PV systems generally are reliable, with a life expectancy of about 30 years. Most manufacturers offer 20 to 25-year warranties for panels. Other components like inverters may have a shorter life.
To begin, you can look at factors such as which direction your home faces, the roof’s condition, or sunlight obstructions like trees and other buildings. There are other energy savings options if your home isn’t ideal for solar. Let us help! Solar contractors can provide a more detailed analysis on what to expect. WRVEC can also provide helpful information such as use history for a correctly sized unit.
Before choosing a solar PV system, be sure that your home is in excellent shape; this may include energy efficiency updates or roof repairs. Investing in these will provide a faster return on investment and save you from unexpected future costs. Research solar PV systems and contractors before investing in a system. Get at least three quotes. Also, request advice and assistance from WRVEC. We have experience working with our solar members and vendors alike, and can provide information to aid in your decision-making.
Your system will not collect sunlight at night and on cloudy days. Battery-backed systems use on-site storage to store excess energy to use during these times. However, this option will add significant costs and maintenance to your system. Most people opt for grid connected systems for 24/7 energy access, reduced cost, maintenance, and high reliability- provided by WRVEC
In addition to applying for service through WRVEC, members who purchase a property with an existing generation system must apply for a system transfer.
Members are billed for the “net” amount of power used in excess of the power generated. If a member generates more power than what is used in a given billing period, WRVEC provides a credit for the surplus power. The credit is based on the cost a member would have incurred in purchasing the fuel to generate an equal number of kilowatt-hours.
We’ve supplied a few steps to ensure that our members make the right choice when it comes to installing a form of power generation, like solar.