TCEC breaks ground on community solar array
In a special ceremony on August 18 TCEC celebrated the groundbreaking of its one megawatt community solar array located at its headquarters in Hooker, which will be the first of its kind in Oklahoma.
BACK LEFT: Jimmie Draper, TCEC Trustee; Erwin Elms, TCEC Trustee; Representative Casey Murdock; CJ Mouser, TCEC Trustee.
MIDDLE LEFT: Michael Henderson, President of Today’s Power, Inc.; Stan Ralstin, Oklahoma Department of Commerce; Larry Hodges, TCEC Trustee; Shawn Martinez, TCEC Trustee; Larry Dunn, TCEC Trustee; Michael Teague, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment.
FRONT LEFT: Brenda Merkle, TCEC Vice President of Information Technology; Ronny White, TCEC Trustee and Vice President of the Board; Jack Perkins, TCEC Chief Executive Officer
The State of Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague made some remarks about the project, saying, “This is absolutely the right next step for our state.”
Later on in his remarks, Teague said it takes leadership to change and TCEC is showing that leadership. “If we don’t continue to innovate, if we don’t continue to change, we kinda we get run over,” Teague said.
TCEC Chief Operating Officer Zac Perkins also spoke during the ceremony. Perkins said 68 percent of TCEC’s membership was interested in renewable energy products on the cooperative’s 2015 survey.
“We wanted to do this the right way and find the right partner and I think we found that with Today’s Power, Inc.”
Michael Henderson, president of Today’s Power, Inc., and developer of the project also made some remarks during the ceremony.
“One of the unique characteristics that we really like about this is that it’s a low-voltage system so you don’t have to worry about electrocution,” Henderson said. “This is a safer product and we’re all about safety. The other thing we like about it is we get about 20 percent more energy out of a panel than anyone else does. The reason we’re able to do that is because the reflector panel on this system reflects sunlight back onto the solar panel and turbocharges that panel…The other thing is that most solar arrays take up a larger footprint. TCEC takes up about 40 percent less of a footprint so we’re good stewards of the land.”
Some quick facts about TCEC Community Solar offering:
- Community solar is a simpler and more affordable option than rooftop solar.
- TCEC and its partner, Today’s Power, Inc., take care of the installation, maintenance and insurance on the panels that will be located by the cooperative’s headquarters in Hooker.
- Interested members will subscribe to a panel, or more if they choose, and receive a credit on their bill for the energy produced by their subscription’s share of the array.
- The one megawatt community solar array near the cooperative’s headquarters will have nearly 4,000 panels that are 400 watts each.
- Panel subscriptions will sell for a one-time fee of $350 each and members can subscribe to multiple panels, as long as their credit for energy produced does not exceed their energy consumption each month. If you subscribe to a panel(s) in the array, your monthly electric bill will be credited for the power produced in the previous month by the array based on your subscription. The credit will vary from month-to-month. TCEC anticipates the credit will average about $3 per month for a total of about $30-$35 per year per panel.
- Initially, panels will be available to residential members only. Panels can be turned back to the cooperative at a depreciated rate if the member moves.
- The community solar array is anticipated to be completed in January 2016.
For updates and notification when panels are available, sign up for the community solar interest list at www.tcec.coop.
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Headquartered in Hooker, Oklahoma, Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC) is a not-for-profit distribution cooperative owned and controlled by its members. TCEC is committed to improving the quality of life for its members and communities by delivering safe, reliable and affordable electric service. The cooperative serves about 23,000 meters in the Oklahoma Panhandle, southwestern Kansas, the northern border of the Texas Panhandle and parts of Colorado and New Mexico. TCEC is a Touchstone Energy cooperative. For more information, visit www.tcec.coop.