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Renewable Energy FAQ

Our most frequently asked questions are answered below

Q. What is a Photovoltaic System?

A. A photovoltaic system (PV) is a power system used to convert sunlight into usable electrical energy.

Q. What does a PV System consist of?

A. The two main components in a PV system are the array of solar panels and the power inverter.—The array of solar panels is the means by which energy from the sun is converted into electrical energy. A solar array is composed of two or more solar panels mounted on a frame.  The number of solar panels in a system is dependent on the quality and efficiency of the solar cells and the amount of power output desired.—The inverter converts and conditions the direct-current (DC) electrical power produced by the solar array, to alternating-current (AC) power that can be connected to the electric Grid and used in your home. A high quality inverter will maximize the power output from your solar panels.

Q. Where can I get more information on solar energy?

A. Useful Links:
http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/small-solar-electric-systemshttp://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/installing-and-maintaining-home-solar-electric-systemhttp://nccleantech.ncsu.edu/

Q. If EnergyUnited has a service interruption will my PV system keep my power on?

A. Not without a battery backup system. PV inverters are designed to disconnect from the grid whenever power interruptions occur to prevent back-feeding onto the electric system. This is a major safety feature of modern inverters.  However, if you have installed a battery backup system, you will have some standby power until the battery charge has dissipated.  Otherwise, the system will remain off until grid power is restored.

Q. How much does a system cost?

A. The cost of a PV system varies, depending on the efficiency of the solar cells and the quality of inverter. Prices can vary anywhere from $4.50 – $6.50 per watt installed.  Federal tax incentives can greatly reduce the cost of PV systems.  For specific pricing information refer to a licensed retailer or installer.

Q. Does EnergyUnited sell or install PV systems?

A. No. EnergyUnited does not sell, install, or manage any PV systems.  For help finding an installer, click here.

Q. How do I find someone to put in a PV System for me?

A. EnergyUnited does not recommend or endorse any PV installation company. For help finding an installer, click here.

Q. What size PV system do I need for my home?

A. There are many factors that determine the optimal size system to meet your needs. These include your budget, the amount of space available and the amount of electricity that you use.  Before sizing your PV system, consider taking some energy efficiency steps to reduce your usage such as weatherproofing your house and buying ENERGY STAR™ appliances.The government provides a useful tool for analyzing PV systems at the link below: http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/

Q. Is there a size limitation?

A. For residential service, EnergyUnited allows PV systems up to 25 kW. For commercial service, EnergyUnited allows for systems up to 100 kW.  For systems larger than 100 kW, please contact EnergyUnited.

Q. Can I connect my system to the grid and sell power back to EnergyUnited?

A. Yes! EnergyUnited offers a Power Purchase program (Buy All, Sell All).  Power consumption is billed as normal based on EnergyUnited’s current rate schedule.  Any power that you produce is measured through a separate electrical meter and sold to EnergyUnited at the wholesale power rate.

Q. Does EnergyUnited offer Net Metering?

A. Yes. EnergyUnited does offer a Net Metering program. The Net Metering program is currently available for residential customers only.

Q. What is Net Metering?

A. Net metering allows you to use the power that you produce to reduce your bill. The amount of energy that you produce (kWh) is subtracted from the amount of energy that you use.  You are billed on the resulting number.  Because EnergyUnited must be prepared to meet your full power demand at any time, EnergyUnited charges a monthly standby charge for your generation system of $3.00 per kW.

Q. How much does EnergyUnited pay for the energy I produce?

A. If you are participating in EnergyUnited’s Power Purchase program, EnergyUnited pays 4.7 cents per KWh.  You may be able to receive additional compensation from NC GreenPower (See What is NC GreenPower?).  If you are participating in Net Metering, EnergyUnited only purchases energy if you produce more than you consume in a given month.  The rate paid is based on your current rate schedule and is the same rate as power purchased from EnergyUnited (See current rate schedule).

Q. If I participate in the Power Purchase program, how will I be paid for the energy that I produce?

A. On your bill every month, EnergyUnited will list the amount of power you delivered to the electric grid. You will receive a bill credit based on the current rate schedule.

Q. Does EnergyUnited charge a monthly fee?

A. For members participating in the Power Purchase program, EnergyUnited charges a $10.00 per month facility charge for systems less than 25 kW and a $25.00 per month facility charge for systems greater than 25 kW.  This is in addition to the monthly facilities charge you pay for your normal electric service.  For net metering customers, a standby charge of $3.00 per kW (of PV system size) will be added to your monthly bill.

Q. What is a standby charge?

A. The Standby charge is required for net metering participants only. In the event your generation system fails or does not produce enough power to meet your needs, EnergyUnited must be prepared to supply enough power to meet your residential demand.  As such, we are required to maintain adequate power supply capacity to meet your demand at any time.  This ensures that energy is available for you anytime you need it.

Q. What if I won’t produce a lot of excess energy and wish to avoid additional charges?

A. EnergyUnited will allow you to connect a PV system into your home and just use the energy yourself without participating in either the Net Metering or Power Purchase program. However, with this option, you do not receive credit or compensation for any excess energy you produce. This option does not incur any additional fees, though.  A full application is still required for this option.

Q. Are there any upfront costs?

A. Along with your Application to Interconnect, EnergyUnited requires a non-refundable $100.00 application fee for services 25 kW or less and a $250.00 non-refundable application fee for services greater than 25 kW.  Except in extreme cases, EnergyUnited does not charge installation costs.

Q. What is NC Green Power?

A. NC Green Power is “a 501(C)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of the environment in North Carolina through a statewide program that connects consumers with green energy and carbon offset providers”(ncgreenpower.org).NC GreenPower purchases ROCs from commercial and residential entities. As a residential customer, you may be eligible to receive additional compensation from NC GreenPower for every kWh that you produce.For more information, visit: www.ncgreenpower.org/become-a-generator.

Q. What is a REC?

A. A Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is created for each 1MWh (1000kWh) of renewable energy that you produce. If participating in EnergyUnited’s Buy All, Sell All program, RECs can be sold to NC GreenPower at a per kWh rate subject to their program limitations (See What is NC GreenPower?).

Q. Does EnergyUnited offer any incentives for solar power?

A. No, but incentives are available in the form of federal tax credits.—The federal government currently offers a 30% personal tax credit. For more information about federal government tax credits, visit:http://energy.gov/savings/residential-renewable-energy-tax-credit.

NC GreenPower also provides various incentives for customers on the Power Purchase program (See What is NC GreenPower?).

Q. What about other technologies?

A. EnergyUnited allows installation of various types of renewable energy, as long as all interconnect requirements and specifications are adhered too.

Q. What are your interconnect Requirements?

A. For information regarding interconnect Requirements, see Interconnect Requirements

Q. What is the process to interconnect a system?

A. For information regarding the process of interconnecting, see Interconnect Process Document
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EnergyUnited serves more than 124,000 electric customers in central and western North Carolina, making it the second largest supplier of residential electricity in North Carolina. EnergyUnited Propane provides propane service to residential, commercial and industrial customers in 63 North Carolina counties and 11 South Carolina counties. LOCATIONS >>
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