I hope everyone has stayed healthy and safe during the pandemic. As we move forward this year, our office lobby will remain closed until it is determined to be safe and health officials are secure in the fact that herd immunity has been reached. We continue to provide our members with reliable service and to keep up with new construction and all our maintenance needs. This is due to the hard work and dedication of our employees. They continue their commitment to the cooperative and strive to stay healthy to do so.
As 2020 neared its close, the cooperative had to adjust the rate at which members with solar were compensated for the kilowatt hours they put back on the grid. In 2014, the state legislature enacted Act 236, which in essence stated that all investor-owned utilities such as Duke Energy and SCE&G had to buy back from rooftop solar customers all excess energy put back on their systems. This would make these companies pay the customers the same rate as they were being charged, known as net metering. Act 236 did not include electric cooperatives or municipalities. It also stated that this had to be done until each investor-owned utility reached 2% of its total generation portfolio.
Central Electric Cooperative buys the power for all 20 of the electric cooperatives in South Carolina. Their board decided to offer this to all cooperative members until it reached 2% of its generation purchase. Central then provided each cooperative with a supplement each month to keep members from incurring any extra costs for the energy provided by the solar members. The rate paid to reimburse the member with solar is basically retail costs. This would cause our overall wholesale price to increase and would eventually be passed on to all members of your cooperative. Central reached the 2% in 2019 and reimbursed the cooperatives through the end of the year. It was decided they would continue to pay through 2020 to existing members with solar.
We have changed our rate for solar members on the energy they put back into the system at the value of solar. This is an alternative to the net metering design and continues to charge the same rate to the members for the energy received. The energy exported back to the system is credited to the member at the value of solar that is approved.
If you are interested in solar for your home, please contact our office at (864) 366-2141 and let us discuss the rates with you before you make your purchase. Our friends at Laurens Electric Cooperative are solar advisors and installers. For more information and estimates on systems, please call Matthew Smith at Laurens Electric at (864) 683-1682 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.