At-home solar, is a technology that offers a lot of promise to help save money on your energy bill and be greener. The cost of photovoltaic (PV) panels has dropped dramatically in the past few years, but this price reduction doesn’t mean residential at-home solar makes sense for everyone.
Does Tipmont offer at-home solar?
No. Tipmont does not offer at-home solar installations. Instead, our Community Solar program offers green energy for your home while avoiding expensive upfront installation and ongoing maintenance costs.
However, solar panels may still be a good fit for your home. If you choose to proceed with installing at-home solar on your home, please read the following information.
Is At-Home Solar a good deal?
The answer depends on your situation. Based on historical trends, we can say with confidence that energy costs will continue to rise. Installing at-home solar will cost you significant money upfront. However, the system will likely pay for itself over time as energy costs continue to rise and the energy generated by your system is free. You will need to calculate how long it will take the system to pay for itself.
What other factors should I consider?
Installing at-home solar may have other impacts beyond energy savings.
- It is considered a major renovation to your home. If your home is an older building, your roof may need repairs or even an entire roof replacement before solar panels can be installed. It’s a good idea to have a professional contractor inspect your home before making any major modifications.
- You may be responsible for ongoing maintenance costs. Make sure you understand any contract you sign prior to moving forward.
- Not all panels and inverters are alike. Do your homework to understand the different types. The quality of the energy you generate has more to do with the inverter than the panels themselves. Get quotes from several vendors to fully understand your financial cost.
- Your homeowner’s association (HOA) may have restrictions on structure renovations. Contact a HOA representative before moving forward with an installation.
- You’ll want to ask your insurance company how this renovation to your home will affect your homeowner’s insurance.
What obligations do I have to my electric provider?
Any member-owned generation will affect the larger grid. For Tipmont and other electric companies to safely and reliably manage the power flow on the electric grid, we need to be aware of any source that is generating energy.
There are several reasons we need to be aware of member-owned generation:
- Power flow management: If your solar panels produce more energy during the day than you consume in your home, those electrons have to go somewhere. The only place they can go is back onto the electric grid. To safely manage power flow, we need to be aware of all sources generating energy.
- Reliability: Solar arrays do not generate energy when the sun is not shining. Electric providers need to make sure we have the generation available to backfill your needs if your systems stop working.
- Safety: If your system is not functioning correctly, it could unintentionally back feed power onto the grid. This is a serious safety hazard for our linemen who could find themselves working on a line they believe has been disconnected but is still receiving power from another source.
Steps you need to take
If your array is above 25KW, please contact Tipmont REMC prior to starting construction on your array. There may be additional engineering required to ensure our electrical infrastructure can accommodate your array.
- Work with your solar vendor to complete and sign the Application for Small Member-Owned Generation .
- This application must include the following items:
- A signed Application for Small Member-Owned Generation .
- Proof of personal liability insurance in the amount of $1M for each occurrence. This is to protect our linemen and metering technicians in the event of a power outage involving your solar array.
- A detailed work plan that includes solar array location, specifications, and a wiring diagram. PLEASE NOTE: Tipmont REMC does not accept wiring diagrams that include a line-side tap, or any wiring that requires working inside our meter base
- If the solar array will operate in Tippecanoe or Montgomery County, please contact your county's commissioner's office to complete the inspection.
- If the solar array will operate in Fountain County, please have a licensed electrician submit the inspection to Tipmont REMC.