by Preston Knight, Communication Manager
A wintertime celebration is in the air for the sunbaked field that is SVEC’s inaugural community solar project. The switch flipped at the Shenandoah County location in December, and co-op members are now invited to purchase blocks of solar production output to support cleaner energy hitting the power grid.
Community solar fills the gap for members who cannot afford, or logistically cannot accommodate, panels at home.
Unveiling the program over the winter may not have been the original target, as SVEC and its partners on the project ensured all technical components were in safe, working order. But getting the site in operation and available to members as soon as possible was always the broader goal, and now, everyone can be prepared for the best production months of spring and summer.
“We like to say the ‘cleanest’ and most affordable watt of electricity is the watt never produced. That’s why we’ve developed a clean power plan to set our goals for energy efficiency — ways to use less power and ways to use cleaner power to benefit the environment,” says Jason Burch, SVEC’s vice president of engineering. “We are excited to have community solar as one approach to using cleaner power, and we also look forward to learning a lot from it over the years.”
SVEC is interested in future community solar sites throughout its service territory. No locations have been identified for development yet. For the first foray into the concept, this page features some of the most common questions. If this opportunity further interests you, please review the accompanying “Community Solar Subscription Rider” below.
WHY SHOULD YOU PARTICIPATE?
In 2022, SVEC adopted a clean power plan, a document that puts on paper everything we say we are committed to achieving in being good stewards of the environment.
Supporting renewable energy efforts, specifically expanding access to solar, is one component.
Community solar is one part of the full equation to reducing the co-op’s carbon footprint and will make solar generation available to residential members who may not otherwise be able to install or own solar of their own. Since at-home solar isn’t practical for all locations and budgets, community solar is an option for everyone. This is a voluntary program, and we understand it’s not going to appeal to all members.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO PARTICIPATE?
The subscription rate is currently $5.38 per solar block. Units of solar energy in 50 kWh blocks are available, with a maximum allowed of up to 50% of a location’s lowest monthly use from the previous 12 months.
The monthly subscription rate per solar block will be fixed for successive three-year terms, a period that began with the State Corporation Commission’s acceptance of SVEC’s rider in May 2022. The fixed block charge will be updated at the end of each three-year term based on prevailing energy supply costs recovered in the cooperative’s standard rates.
IF I SUBSCRIBE, WILL THE ELECTRICITY FROM THE SITE BE DELIVERED TO MY HOME?
No, nothing will change about how electricity is currently delivered to you. The renewable energy produced from the community solar site will be added to the electric system where it is interconnected, but its energy will be measured and tracked as part of this program, so you know the solar block(s) you’ve subscribed to are, indeed, produced from the sun.
For an expanded set of questions and to subscribe to community solar, visit svec.coop/solar.
Community Solar Subscription Rider Schedule SSR-1
This is an abbreviated version accepted by the State Corporation Commission in May 2022. To view the full SSR-1, visit svec.coop/rates.
Solar energy subscriptions are available on a voluntary basis to Cooperative Customers (“Subscribers”) in good standing that receive electric service under Schedule A-13 and successor tariffs provided the amount of solar energy available from the Cooperative is not fully subscribed.
Applicable to Subscribers as a rider to the applicable standard tariff.
III. TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION
The Cooperative offers to make available units of energy generated from solar generating resources to which the Cooperative has access through its wholesale power supplier, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (“ODEC”). Units of solar energy in 50 kWh blocks (“Solar Blocks”) are available for resale under this rider. Solar Block subscriptions initially shall be offered to Subscribers for only one account. Multiple Solar Block subscriptions will be allowed up to a level that the Cooperative determines is not expected to exceed the Subscriber’s metered kWh usage in any month. With at least thirty (30) days’ notice, the Subscriber may elect to increase the number of subscribed
Solar Blocks provided the Subscriber’s monthly usage supports the additional Solar Blocks, and subject to Solar Block availability, or decrease the number of subscribed Solar Blocks. If the Subscriber elects to decrease the number of subscribed solar blocks, the Subscriber subsequently will not be eligible to increase the number of subscribed Solar Blocks until the start of the following Fixed Rate Term. The Cooperative may allow subscriptions for more than one Subscriber account until the Solar Blocks are fully subscribed. Subscriptions shall normally be for twelve (12) consecutive months beginning with the effective date of the subscription (“Annual Subscription Period”). Annual Subscription Periods will automatically renew unless cancelled by the Subscriber or the Cooperative at least thirty (30) days prior to the renewal date. The Cooperative may offer subscriptions less than twelve (12) months consecutively to align with the end of a Fixed Rate Term provided that such shortened subscriptions shall automatically renew for an Annual Subscription Period unless cancelled by the Subscriber or the Cooperative at least thirty (30) days prior to the renewal date. A Subscriber may cancel a subscription at any time by giving at least a thirty (30) day notice to the Cooperative. Subscriptions will be cancelled at the end of the billing period and will not be prorated. Following the cancellation of a subscription, the Subscriber shall not be eligible to initiate a new subscription for Solar Blocks until the start of the following Fixed Rate Term.
Subscribers may transfer their subscriptions only to another eligible account in the Subscriber’s name. Transfers shall take effect at the conclusion of the billing period in which notice was provided to the Cooperative.
Except as otherwise provided, Subscribers may not assign, transfer, gift, bequeath, or otherwise transfer any of its rights or obligations under this Agreement to any other individual, account, or entity for any purpose.
If the Subscriber terminates electric service or ceases to be an active member, the subscription(s) shall automatically terminate at the end of
the billing period in which said action takes place. Upon disconnection of electric service, Subscriber shall pay all amounts due and owing to the Cooperative.
IV. MONTHLY RATE
A. Subscription Rate: $5.38 per Solar Block.
The monthly subscription rate per Solar Block (“Fixed Block Charge”) will be fixed for three- year terms (“Fixed
Rate Term”). The Fixed Block Charge will be updated at the end of each Fixed Rate Term based on prevailing energy supply costs recovered in the member Cooperative’s standard rates.
B. Administrative Charge: $0.00 per Solar Block.