Many CHELCO members are interested in installing solar arrays at their homes or their businesses as a way of reducing energy bills and to produce power with less environmental impact.

To help members understand the potential savings and payback, CHELCO gathered metering data from its 5-kilowatt (KW) solar array in front of our Operations Center and obtained a current price to install a rooftop solar unit of that size.

In slightly rounded numbers, the array produced about $600 worth of electricity in one year. The current average cost to install a 5 KW array is $13,011 after a 26 percent federal tax credit.

This means the payback to recoup the cost of the array is almost 28 years. This may vary depending upon rates, installation costs and how the power is used. But the practical range will be 20-30 years to pay back the investment.

Effective Aug.1, 2020, CHELCO will offer a net metering time-of-use rate plan that mirrors our traditional time-of-use schedule. Net metering occurs when the energy your renewable system produces is greater than the activity at your home. As a result, you sell or are credited back on your power bill for the excess energy placed on the CHELCO electrical grid. 

To maximize your benefit from the new net metering time-of-use plan, shift energy use to off-peak hours (2-7 p.m. in spring and summer, 5-9 a.m. in fall and winter), and increase the energy your renewable system produces during the on-peak hours. 

Because participating net metering members purchased their renewable system using our old net metering rate to determine the cost-effectiveness of their investment, a 15-year grandfathered period has been established allowing them to continue on the old rate. 

If you would like to look at the assumptions, the variables and three different scenarios, you can download our flyer or contact Energy Services at (850) 307-1122.

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