Cooperative Solar FAQ
Solar made simple. That’s what your member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative is striving to deliver with its Cooperative Solar Project. Here are some frequently asked questions about Cooperative Solar.
What is Cooperative Solar?
The Middle Tennessee Electric Cooperative Solar Project offers residential members solar energy from a large solar facility that generates solar energy more economically than rooftop or yard installations. The solar energy is delivered from the large solar facility to the member's home by the same distribution lines already in place. And it enables the member to avoid many problems that accompany rooftop installations and yard installations.
Why is Cooperative Solar better than installing a system on my roof?
Putting a solar system on your roof will require you to have a sound structure with a roof covering. It will require you to remove all trees or obstructions that would shade your roof during the day. There are energy savings lost during the summer months by exposing your house to full sun. You would be responsible for the maintenance on the solar system as well as damage that could come from wind and hail storms.
The presence of the rooftop solar is a problem when shingles must be replaced. There could also be considerable cost to upgrade your electrical system to handle the power generated by the solar system. Building codes and neighborhood covenants may also pose problems. There could also be an issue with increased property taxes from the value added to your property. There is a question whether the presence of a solar installation will be a positive or a negative in the event you choose to sell your home.
Owning rooftop solar requires an upfront cash payment as well as a long-term commitment. While leasing enables you to avoid the upfront cash payment, it is still a long-term commitment and may require certain credit approvals.
What about putting the solar system in my yard?
You have many of the same problems that you would have had by placing the solar system on your roof. While you would avoid the roof structure issues, you would add the loss of yard space and pick up maintaining the property around the solar system.
Do I have to be a member of MTEMC to participate in Cooperative Solar?
Yes. You must be a member with an active residential account in good standing to participate in the MTEMC Cooperative Solar Program.
What if I don’t participate, do I have to pay for this facility?
No. The system is designed to generate enough capacity to pay for itself.
How soon can I participate in Cooperative Solar?
By clicking the "Cooperative Solar Sign-Up" link on this page, you can request more information or ask to be added to the waiting list. We are expecting to offer the program details in early 2017.
How much will it cost to participate in Cooperative Solar?
A monthly program fee if $20 per energy block will allow members access to the generated capacity. In some months, generated capacity may be less tan the monthly participation cost, and in some months it may exceed that cost; members will see their portion of the generation on their monthly bill.
How many energy blocks can I request?
Each residential member may request up to two blocks of solar energy on a first-come, first-served basis. If blocks are sold out, we will place your name on a waiting list.
How do I get credit for purchasing a block of solar energy capacity?
We will credit your monthly bill to reflect the amount of electricity produced from the previous month by your portion of the Cooperative Solar facility.
Do I own any solar panels if I participate in the program?
No. You are purchasing the electricity generated by the solar panels, but you will not own any property or equipment.
How long is my contract?
There is no long-term contract. You may quit at any time by notifying Middle Tennessee Electric before your account bills for the current month. In the event your account has billed you will not be billed the next month. Keep in mind, when you leave the program you may have to be placed on a waiting list to get back on solar.
What if I rent and do not own my property?
Since there is no equipment required on the property, renters may participate the same as homeowners.
What happens if I move?
No problem. You can keep your solar energy blocks if you move to another location served by MTEMC. If you move outside of the cooperative’s service territory or otherwise discontinue participating in the program, the co-op will make the block of energy available for another interested member.
How about maintenance cost on the system?
Middle Tennessee Electric maintains the solar array and there is never a charge to you for maintenance and up-keep to the system.
What are the risks to participating in the program?
None. You may stop participating at any time.
Where is Cooperative Solar energy generated?
The initial source of solar energy for MTEMC’s Cooperative Solar Program is in College Grove, Tenn. The site currently holds more than 3,000 solar panels with a maximum output of 1-megawatt of local, green, renewable energy.
Sounds good! How do I sign up?
Simply click here and you can enter your information to receive more information or be added to the waiting list.