Community Solar Garden Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why did Taylor Electric Cooperative build community solar?
The purpose of the program is to provide Taylor Electric Cooperative members with an affordable option to acquire locally-produced renewable energy.
2. How do I participate in the community solar garden project?
You must sign a Solar Subscription Agreement and make a one-time payment for a subscription unit(s) in the amount of $755.00 per unit or $377.50 – per ½ unit. If you so choose, you can make monthly payments with the balance paid in full 12/31/20.
3. Are there any restrictions or limitations on who may subscribe to Taylor Electric Cooperative’s community solar project?
The subscribing member must have a single- or 3-phase account with Taylor Electric Cooperative. Renters as well as owners are eligible.
4. What size is the solar array and where is it located?
The Taylor Electric Bright Horizons community solar garden is a 100.8 kilowatt (kW) array located at the Taylor Electric Cooperative headquarters facility, Medford, Wisconsin.
5. Why doesn’t Taylor Electric Cooperative just install solar without payment from members?
Obtaining power from small scale renewable generation sources costs more today than traditional sources. Many of our members have indicated they do not want to pay more for renewable generation. However, some of our members are willing to invest in this technology. This project is identified as a way to meet the needs of members that want their generation from a renewable resource.
6. What is a subscription unit?
A unit is 350 watts of energy producing capacity. Taylor Electric Bright Horizons community solar garden is comprised of 274 saleable units.
7. How much does each 350-watt subscription unit cost?
The cost is $755.00 per 350-watt unit based upon on a 100.8 kW installed system. One-half units are available to purchase for $377.50.
8. Is there a limit on how many units a member can buy?
Yes. The limit is the smaller of:
- 125% of your average monthly electric usage of the past two years, or,
- 57 units (19,950 watts total)
Units are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Taylor Electric Cooperative reserves the right to limit the amount of units of participation by any and all members, to allow all interested members the opportunity to participate.
9. Do I pay the full $755 per unit price in advance?
During the subscription period, members who want to subscribe to the Taylor Electric Bright Horizons project will be asked to pay $300 per unit. The balance will be invoiced to you, and as a special incentive, may be paid over 6 equal monthly installments, without incurring any interest charges. The deposit will not be refunded unless the subscriber requests the deposit refunded within 10 business days of paying such deposit.
10. If I participate in more than one unit, is there a price reduction for additional units?
No. Since the benefit of each unit purchased is equal in energy production, and to make available the best pricing for every member, there will be no discount for multiple unit purchases.
11. How can I pay the deposit and final payment?
Cash, personal checks, money orders or credit cards will be accepted.
12. Can I file and collect the federal tax credit for the cost of each production unit in the solar array I purchase?
No. The Cooperative owns the solar array.
13. Are there additional annual costs to participate in the Taylor Electric Community Solar project for the first 25 years?
No, not directly. For a period of 25 years following the in-service date, no additional fees or charges will be assessed to the member participants. The cost of insurance and maintenance will be paid from a separate account established by the Cooperative.
14. How is the monthly energy production attributed to a subscribers account calculated?
The total monthly energy production from the solar array shall be allocated to the participants in proportion to their share of participation in the 100.8 kW array. The resulting amount will be the credits in kilowatt-hours (kWhs) allocated per subscription unit. Each participating member’s account is credited the kWh for each unit they own, in effect lowering the monthly electric bill by the amount of renewable energy produced per unit. For example, let’s assume the array produces 12,000 kWh during the month, and you have purchased 2 subscription units totaling 700 watts of output. Your credit offset on your electric bill for that month would be 83 kWhs (700/100,800 x 12,000). If the electric meter at your residence for that month shows you used 1,000 kWhs, you would be billed for only 917 (1,000-83). For time-of-day and 3-phase accounts, a monthly credit will be applied at the Standard Farm & Residential Single-Phase rate.
15. What happens if I purchase 125% of my past 2 years average and my usage drops to less than the output of my purchased subscription units? Do I still get the credit for the number of units I purchased originally?
You will continue to receive credit for the monthly output of your full share of the total array, however, any kWhs in excess of the amount shown as used by the meter at your account location will get credited to your account at “avoided cost” which currently averages about 3½¢ per kWh. This is the same as any member-owned net-metered distributed generation per Cooperative Policy No. 2.50.
16. Will one subscription unit cover my entire electric bill?
Doubtful, as each unit will generate approximately 450 kWh annually. Energy production will vary based on total sunshine and time of year. Solar credit (kWh) in excess of a subscriber’s monthly usage will be credited to the subscribers account as provided in Cooperative Policy No. 2.50 – Distributed Generation.
17. Can the subscriber sell his/her subscription units?
Yes. The subscriber may sell all of their subscription units to the Cooperative at a surrender value to be determined according to the number of years elapsed from the start-up date at the time of repurchase. The unit can also be transferred to another one of your accounts, or sold (or given) to another qualified Taylor Electric Cooperative member.
18. What if I move?
Subscribers will have 4 options:
- Sell the unit back to the Cooperative
- Keep the unit with existing home if the new member wants to purchase it.
- Sell (or give) the unit to another qualified member that is already served by the Cooperative.
- Transfer the unit to another one of your accounts.
19. What is the term of the agreement?
The agreement will continue 25 years from the in-service date, subject to early termination. The initial in-service date was August 1, 2015.
20. What is the life expectancy of the system?
25 years. The modules are warranted for the same duration. Over time, the electric production will decrease approximately 0.2% per year according to the manufacturer.
21. Will the panels be upgraded as the technology changes?
This project is a stand-alone project. It will have an up-front investment to install 100.8 kW of solar panels. Since the cost of the panels has already been incurred at the time of construction, it is unlikely that future enhancements to solar panel technology will be great enough to economically justify discarding what was already purchased and installed. Hopefully, future Taylor Electric Cooperative community solar projects will be able to take advantage of the newest technology available at the time of construction.
22. Where does the electricity go when the system is producing energy?
This system is interconnected with the grid, so its output goes directly onto the Cooperative’s distribution system.
23. What company manufactured the solar facility?
TenK Solar, Minneapolis, Minnesota
24. Is there another option for supporting renewable energy?
Yes. You can enroll in Taylor Electric Cooperative’s Evergreen Program. For as little as $1.00 per month added to your electric bill, you can support renewable energy by helping offset the additional generation costs.