Construction is moving along at CHEC solar project
By IRENE NOLAN
Construction is moving along quickly at
Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative's Community Solar Garden, which is
located on a 1.3-acre site next to the Hatteras Island Ocean Center
in Hatteras village.
Hannah Solar is the contractor and is in
the process of installing concrete footers and 180 solar panels,
which will provide approximately 50 kilowatts of energy.
Installation of the Solar Garden was
expected to be completed before the end of 2015, but issues with the
soil and placing the concrete footers and with the weather delayed
the start of construction until this week.
Next week, CHEC will begin selling
rights to the panels to its members at a cost of $685 each.
Members who purchase the panels will
get a credit on their monthly power bills over the next 20 years that
will vary according to the project's output, but will probably be in
the range of $2 to $3.
Just like with water heater sales, CHEC
will offer one-year, on-bill financing of the panel energy rights for
5 percent interest. On $685, the monthly payment would be
$58.64 and the total interest over the year will total
"Community solar is an attractive option for our
members who rent their homes, for members who do not have a
south-facing roof, or for those who may not want to penetrate their
roof in our coastal environment,” said Susan Flythe, CHEC general
manager and executive director. “Community solar makes solar
accessible to all of our members.”
CHEC isn't expecting to
sell out of the solar panels immediately. The cost of solar
energy has decreased significantly, but it is still expensive, says
CHEC general manager Susan Flythe, and not as cost effective as
natural gas or nuclear energy.
However, she also said that
several members reserved panels before construction started.
price for CHEC panels was set according to financial modeling done by
the National Renewable Cooperative Organization (NRCO), a group that
CHEC and other North Carolina cooperatives are working with to do
their projects. Four in North Carolina were completed in 2014,
and nine are to be completed by the end of the year, all under the
auspices of the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation and
For more information, contact Laura
Ertle, director of public relations and marketing, at
Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative is
topic of radio show
CHEC's Solar Garden will be a community