ATLANTA, Ga. (September 17plan, 2015) –Hannah Solar, an Atlanta-based certified solar integrator, will soon begin installing nine community solar garden projects to add to four projects completed in 2014 for North Carolina’s electric cooperatives around the state. The gardens, which are expected to collectively contribute a total solar load of 1.65MW (AC), will provide power to 10 of the state’s 26 independent, member-owned electric cooperatives. The community solar model opens up access to solar energy to electric cooperative members for whom solar was not an option because of shaded homes, rental situations or the inability to take on the expense of a home installation.
It was in 2008, when community solar was introduced, residents of Brewster, Massachusetts built the first ‘community solar’ project. Since then, the price has dropped dramatically, making it more easily attainable as well as more popular than ever before. “For the electric cooperatives in North Carolina, this is just a start,” says Jim Musilek, Director of Grid Modernization at North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, which provides wholesale electricity to its member cooperatives. “The advantages of a community-shared solar farm are significant, and more and more of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are participating in community solar projects. Electric cooperatives were formed more than 80 years ago when people came together to bring power to rural communities. These projects evoke that same cooperative spirit, except this time, it’s solar power.”
The growth of community solar programs has also been fueled by the values of the participants. Individuals who participate in community solar do so because they believe it is the right thing to do. It is true, both community and residential solar will give a small return on the purchase, and it could take years before it ever actually pays off. Todd Moore, a marketing rep at Pee Dee Electric, experienced a situation that best describes this mentality. “A husband and wife came in and made a purchase that equated to the output of 15 panels from our community solar garden,” Moore said. “Sad to say, a few days after the order had processed, the husband passed away. When we offered to cancel the order, the retired widow told us, “No, this is what my husband would have wanted.””
Thomas Foley, business development manager for Hannah Solar, said that it is common for retired individuals to buy into solar. “It does not matter if it is community solar or a residential install,” Foley said, “many of the individuals who are purchasing solar right now are retired. When I speak with the customers who are purchasing the solar panels through the Community Solar Program, there is a common theme, it is about the pride of knowing that they are doing something good for the environment.” “In the past, some interested members were told that their property was not a good candidate for solar due to shading issues, or the incorrect roof angle. (South East is optimal for solar production). Now, all members of the community can reap the benefits of renewable energy regardless of their location.” North Carolina’s cooperatives chose Hannah Solar to develop the projects in June, 2014, because of its experience and reputation throughout the Southeast with installations of solar. Hannah Solar is ranked as the largest independent solar integrator in Georgia and the 18th largest in the commercial sector nationally.
About North Carolina Electric Cooperatives
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives provide safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity to more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties, primarily in the rural parts of the state. Each of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives are private, independent and not-for-profit entities, whose members own the cooperative and elect a board of directors For more information, please visit, www.ncelectriccooperatives.com.
About Hannah Solar
Hannah Solar, listed on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies for the second year in a row, is a full service, certified solar integrator dedicated to providing the very best in engineering, products, installation and servicing of solar arrays, EV charging stations, critical backup generators and LED lighting. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and comprised of a solar photovoltaic installer certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), licensed professional engineers (PE), master electricians, service technicians, project management professionals, designers and installers, Hannah Solar serves our clients as a reliable and experienced resource in sustainable energy integration. For more information, please visit, www.hannahsolar.com.
Brown Olmstead Associates