|Solar Panels in Coho||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Joel Plotkin (joelsunyit.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:40:23 -0700 (PDT)|
Hundredfold Farm in so. central PA required owners to install solar PV and solar thermal panels at their own expense. Minimum size required was 1.8 kW ( a minimum size determined by a failed offer of a grant from a regional private electric utility). We are grid-interactive, so our local utility,an REA coop, required safeguard controls that remove our systems from the grid in the event of a system-wide outage. Readings of intake and output are recorded monthly and separately--surplus electricity sent to the REA at the end of the year (more output than input) is reimbursed from REA to homeowner at a near-market rate, although the actual money comes, I believe from the REA's generation contractor, Allegheny Power. These are all homeowner specific activities that do not involve the COA. We also sell Renewable Energy Credits (REC) on a green market. Each megawatt generated (not surplus, but actual generation) earns a single REC. Our ten homes generate between about 2.5 mWH per month in winter to 4.5 in summer. At first, we aggregated all the homes under a single account registered with PJM-GATS, a certifier. When credits were sold (through Spectron, a broker), a single check came to the COA and was divided up among homeowners according to the amount generated. Every homeowner reports monthly generation figures to a single energy coordinator. We recently changed to a different system. All generation is reported to a single aggregator, and separate checks are issued to each homeowner. The energy coordinator (me) still collects the numbers, and I record them to SRECTrade, our aggregator, who issues the checks. We are in the first few months of our arrangement with SRECTrade, so things may change. The main advantage is that the COA doesn't have to report the single REC check on its tax return. Each homeowner should probably declare REC earnings as personal income, although it's a small amount. None of our common property buildings has solar arrays--that's where I assume some coho policy would be needed. At one point, we had an agreement from our REA that surplus generation from cooperating homeowners (8 of ten) could be credited to a separate account for electricity used by common property (a power-hungry greenhouse), but that agreement was nixed after a year or so by the REA. We might have appealed that decision, but did not. A possible coho issue might come about if the solar system were leased. Many independent solar companies have sprung up recently, especially in states like NJ and CA that have a high value for their RECs. They build and own the PV system on a homeowner's roof, and give the homeowner a monthly rental fee and a credit for a part of the electricity generated. This would be a subject for coho decision-making if the roof or ground array was on common property. I assume urban cohos might have this arrangement, especially with a shared roof. I'd be interested to hear from any coho that has a leased agreement. Perhaps in an off-line message. Joel Plotkin Hundredfold Farm Orrtanna, PA
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