Renewable resources continue to grow in popularity. Pioneer offers options to allow members to use green energy. Renewable sources — including solar — make up approximately five percent of Pioneer’s overall power supply. Therefore, Pioneer wants to make sure our members are aware of our processes and options when it comes to solar energy.
It’s important that you work with your cooperative before purchasing equipment or signing a contract with a solar vendor to determine what type of system works best for you, your lifestyle, and your utility provider. Interconnecting a solar array with Pioneer’s distribution system requires an application, as well as contractual agreements.
Please contact Pioneer at 800.762.0997 or email@example.com for additional information.
Solar Frequently Asked Questions
Solar energy systems work when sunlight hits a solar photovoltaic module (solar panel or PV panel) and causes electric current to flow. The current produced from the PV panels is controlled and regulated by an inverter, which converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), needed for use by household appliances. The electrical panel is where the power gets distributed throughout your house; any excess electricity may be sent from the panel back to your cooperative’s power grid.
That depends on several factors.
1) The size of your system. You can determine how much electricity you want to produce; then size your system accordingly. Note that you can start out small and add on. A system that will generate 100% of your energy needs is expensive, so most systems are sized to generate only a portion of your home’s needs.
2) Your site. If you have a shade-free area from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you’ll be able to collect more sun and produce more energy than if your site is shaded.
3) Your region. The more sunny days in your area, the more electricity you’ll be able to generate. For example, systems in the Southwest produce more electricity per year than in the northeast. You can find online calculators to help answer this question in more detail, and installers can provide details about your situation, too.
Battery-backed or grid-independent systems use on-site energy storage to store excess energy produced during the day for use at night or when the sun is not producing enough power. Choosing this option will add significant cost and maintenance to your system.
Most people opt for grid-connected systems for reduced cost, maintenance, and high reliability. With this type of system, Pioneer continues to provide energy to you when you need it 24-7. Your PV system will produce energy, and even excess energy, on sunny days. Your system will not collect sunlight at night and on cloudy days. That means, you will continue to draw electricity from the co-op during these times.
Most grid-connected PV systems shut down to prevent back-feeding electricity into de-energized power lines that may have fallen or that line crew members may be working on. It’s important to have this shut-down feature to prevent injuries—and even death—to those working on the line.
Yes. There is a federal tax credit of 30% through 2019, then a slow phase out of the credit by the end of 2021.
In addition, there may be state or local income tax credits, property tax exemptions, and rebate programs from government agencies.
Find information about your state’s programs: http://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program/maps. Be sure to consult with your financial and tax advisor.
The payback period can range from fewer than 10 years to more than 20 years, depending on the system cost, available rebates and incentives, the amount of electricity produced, and the retail price of electricity you purchase from your cooperative. Check with Pioneer for more information.
Certified PV products and systems generally are reliable, with a life expectancy of about 30 years. Manufacturers test PV panels for hail impact, high wind, and freeze-thaw cycles to represent real-life situations.
Most manufacturers offer 20- to 25-year warranties for panels; extended warranties may be available at an extra cost. Little maintenance is required; occasionally it may be necessary to rinse modules off with water to remove dust and grime.
Other components like inverters may have a shorter life. PV panels may outlast the roof they are attached to. Make sure your roof is in good shape or budget for replacement during the life of the system.
To begin, you can look at factors such as which direction your home faces, the condition of your roof, and obstructions such as trees and other buildings that may block the sun during the peak generation period of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Solar contractors can provide a more detailed analysis on what to expect, and your cooperative can offer advice, too.
If your house is not ideal for solar, you rent your home, or you just aren’t ready to make a big investment, there are other options. Talk to Pioneer about, OurSolar, our community solar project, or Envirowatts options.
OurSolar is a community solar program that offers one of the cleanest and most affordable renewable energy sources available. By grouping solar panels together, costs can be shared, power output can be maximized, and hassles of rooftop installation can be avoided.
Members participate for less than $2 per month, per panel. All subscriptions are currently filled. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.762.0997 to be placed on a waiting list.
OurSolar is provided by Buckeye Power on behalf of Pioneer Electric Cooperative and its members.
For more information and a list of our most frequently asked questions visit, www.oursolar.coop/pioneer.
You can make a difference through the EnviroWatts® program. EnviroWatts is a voluntary, earth-friendly and inexpensive way to produce electricity and support renewable energy. With each $2 block of EnviroWatts you purchase, you can be assured that 100-kilowatt hours of electricity were produced from renewable energy sources.
Download the printable application
A bulk purchase option is available for consumer-members who wish to purchase more than (25) 100-kWh blocks per month.
Please contact Ted Riethman at 800.762.0997 or email@example.com if you would like to purchase in bulk.