As our country’s energy landscape continues evolving and new technologies emerge, West Florida Electric Cooperative (WFEC) wants to be your trusted and preferred source for information. In fact, if you are a member of the co-op and you are considering a solar installation at your home, your first call should be to the energy experts at your local electric cooperative.
There is a perception in our society that electric utilities like WFEC are not proponents of solar energy or other forms of renewable energy. This is not true at all. WFEC supports any form of renewable energy as long as generating this type of energy is safe, reliable and affordable, or at the very least, a good value for our members’ investment. Technology for generating renewable energy is improving almost daily and becoming more and more affordable for our members. WFEC is excited and fully supports the use of this technology.
One hurdle solar energy faces is the availability of sunlight. Although it may seem like sunlight is plentiful in the Southeast, and in the “sunshine state” specifically, the truth is that solar-generated electricity isn’t going to be a major energy saver because even during daylight hours, cloud cover often interrupts electricity production. In fact, in 2018, 27 solar members were interconnected with the WFEC distribution system and the average kilowatt hours (kWh) those members generated back onto the distribution system was just over 3,000 kWh per year. The average monthly payment those members received for putting energy back on to the co-op’s system was less than $15.
Companies selling solar panels could promise you that you will never pay a WFEC bill again if you install their solar application, unfortunately, this is false. Our concern as a co-op, is that our members are being misled into believing they will produce enough energy to bring their energy usage down to n
early nothing. While the co-op cannot totally qualify the amount of solar generation a member is producing or consuming, it can speak to their continued kilowatt hour usage. On average, the co-op still delivered nearly 1,000 kWh per month to co-generation (solar) members.
It is extremely important for members who are considering a solar installation to contact WFEC directly for important information about the Co-gen Rate the cooperative uses for solar installations and information about how it works. Here’s a brief explanation – for the kilowatt hours members put back onto the distribution system when generating energy using solar or another form of renewable en
Many times, cooperative members never contact the cooperative until their co-generation system is already installed. This is a problem since the solar panel companies do not know WFEC’s specific policies for co-generation installations. We encourage any member who is considering installing co-generation applications or who has questions about the cooperative’s policies and procedures regarding these applications, to contact us directly by calling your local district office.ergy, the cooperative will pay the wholesale rate that it pays to PowerSouth Energy Cooperative (our generation & transmission cooperative) for power. That rate is .052 cents per kilowatt hour. For any kilowatt hours used on the WFEC system, co-generation members will pay the same residential rate all of the co-op’s other members pay. Members who install solar or other forms of co-generation are also required to maintain a $100,000 liability homeowner’s insurance policy.
We can assure you that when you call you will be encouraged to “go solar” if it is right for you. You will also be told the truth about the overall benefit of your investment. Most importantly, you will be glad you contacted your local, member-owned electric cooperative before you signed a contract for this major investment.