Blue Ridge chooses community approach to broaden solar power
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Citing a "common-sense approach" to solar power, Blue Ridge Co-op is building a community solar farm with plans to break ground on the project this fall. "Community solar is a good fit for electric cooperatives and our members," says CEO Charles Dalton. "This project will produce local, renewable energy for the members who want it." Community or shared solar means multiple people get electricity from a midsize solar farm, offering a convenient option for members who want to buy carbon-free power.
Solar farm site selected
Blue Ridge has an agreement with the Pickens County School District to locate one site behind Chastain Road Elementary School and the Pickens County Career and Technology Center. The farm will be visible from Hwy. 123. Tim Mays, who has been working with this project, is excited about the learning experience for students. "One important aspect of our agreement with the School District of Pickens County is the opportunity for students to learn about this new technology. Solar energy is gaining in popularity, and this will be in their backyard to see and experience." Another site is being researched in Oconee County. Blue Ridge will have up to 250 kilowatts of community solar installed at these locations.
Once it's up and running, any interested cooperative member will have the option of investing in one or more of the solar blocks. The energy generated by these panels will feed directly into the cooperative's distribution system. Community solar has many benefits for Blue Ridge members that have an interest in renewable energy. There is no installation or huge upfront cost, as with rooftop solar. Mays explains, "Some co-op members want the benefits of a solar system, but don't want to bear the expense and maintenance of panels at their home. This is the perfect solution for those folks." The co-op will handle all the details—site planning, construction, operation and maintenance. Members can participate through a monthly "subscription" and receive a bill credit based on how much energy is produced by the solar farm.
| Up-Front Charge for 1kW Blocks
||Monthly Charge Per Block
|1 Block: $50.00
|2 Blocks: $100.00
|3 Blocks: $150.00
|4 Blocks: $200.00
|5 Blocks: $250.00
|Total Initial Investment: $30 + Block Fees
Estimated Monthly Production Per Block & Approximate Credit
| Approximate Credit Per Kilowatt Hour:
||10 Cents Per kWh
|1 Block: 150 kWh
|2 Blocks: 300 kWh
|3 Blocks: 450 kWh
|4 Blocks: 600 kWh
|5 Blocks: 750 kWh
Kilowatt hour is a measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of 1,000 watts for 1 hour.
On Sept. 15, 2016 the co-op's board of directors approved a pricing schedule for the first 120 kW of solar farm-produced power. The initial investment will be $50 per solar block, plus a one-time $30 administration fee. A monthly charge of $14 will be applied for each block, with the member receiving a power bill credit of 10 cents for every sun-generated kilowatt-hour. Blue Ridge is now ready to sign up subscribers. To reserve a single block or more, please apply online below.
UPDATE: We have sold out of blocks on our first solar farm – which is still under construction – and are currently taking applications to be added to a waiting list for our second farm.
SOLAR SUBSCRIPTION: APPLY NOW TO GET ON THE WAITING LIST
Subscriber agrees to comply with and be bound by the Terms & Conditions.
For information on Community Solar, visit MySCSolar.com
For more information email: email@example.com