Renewable Energy FAQs

Does Escambia River Electric Cooperative allow renewable energy, like solar or wind generation, to be interconnected to their power system?

Escambia River Electric Cooperative does allow the safe interconnection of renewable energy to their power system.

What size renewable energy system is allowed?

Escambia River Electric Cooperative will allow renewable energy systems up to 25 kW to be safely interconnected to our system. There are different requirements and policies for renewable systems larger than 25 kW.

What does the term ‘net metering’ mean?

Net metering is the policy of allowing a member’s generated kilowatt hours to be used at another time, effectively cancelling out kilowatt hours that would normally have to be purchased from Escambia River Electric Cooperative at a time when the member-owned generation system is not generating.  This is like keeping a ledger of how much energy you produce and use.  For example, one could produce energy with solar panels during the day to add credits onto the ledger and consume energy at night, taking credits off of the ledger.  Escambia River Electric Cooperative does not net meter.

What does the term ‘net billing’ mean?

Net billing is the policy of allowing a member’s generated kilowatt hours to be used for their own personal use while their system is generating and sell any excess energy to Escambia River Electric at wholesale or “avoided cost” prices, while purchasing power at the retail rate.  Escambia River Electric Cooperative does net bill.

Does Escambia River Electric Cooperative calculate the payback of renewable energy, including renewable energy credits (RECs)?

Escambia River Electric Cooperative does not calculate the payback of renewable energy systems. As a service to our membership, if asked we will look over the estimation given by the renewable energy sales company to help our members better understand the estimate.

Does Escambia River Electric Cooperative charge a fee for interconnecting renewable energy?

Escambia River Electric Cooperative does not charge a fee for interconnecting renewable energy systems. However, in an effort to recover the costs incurred to Escambia River Electric Cooperative during the connection process, there is a new meter charge of $50 required at time of application.

Does Escambia River Electric Cooperative charge a member with renewable energy any extra monthly fees?

There are no extra fees that are charged to a member who have a renewable energy system installed. A member may lose certain discounts afforded to them, depending on their billing rate or for the size or type of load they have had prior to the system being connected.  Also, members may be charged a minimum ‘facility charge’.  This charge accounts for the cost of maintaining the power lines and systems up to your home and does not include the cost of energy used.

Could my billing rate change?

Your billing rate is designated to your account depending on the type and amount of energy you use as well as any discounts afforded to you by any special programs you may participate in. A renewable energy system could change the billing rate designation for your account. Please check with our staff prior to committing to a renewable energy project.

Does Escambia River Electric Cooperative require the member to have insurance on the renewable energy system?

Escambia River Electric Cooperative requires a one-hundred-thousand dollar liability policy to be kept on the renewable energy system for the longevity of the installation. Escambia River Electric Cooperative requires notification of any changes or cancellations to the insurance policy as well as yearly renewals in order to have the most accurate and up to date information on file.  This policy protects the power grid and service employees to which the member connects his/her renewable energy system.

Does Escambia River Electric Cooperative require a contract to be signed?

Escambia River Electric Cooperative requires an interconnection agreement to be signed. This agreement includes, but is not limited to, keeping insurance on the system, compliance with laws, rules, and regulations, and ensuring that the system will operate properly in case of an outage.  For instance, in the event of an outage, your renewable energy system could feed power onto the lines that could damage electronics in a neighbor’s home or hurt a lineman attempting to repair the outage.

When should I contact Escambia River Electric Cooperative about my plans for adding renewable energy to my house/business?

Escambia River Electric Cooperative should be contacted at the very early stages of discussing the installation of a renewable energy system. This will ensure there are no questions left unanswered toward the end of the installation.

Are there any rebates offered through Escambia River Electric Cooperative for a renewable energy system?

Escambia River Electric Cooperative does not currently offer any rebates for renewable energy systems.

Does the system act like a back-up generator when Escambia River Electric Cooperative’s power goes off? Can it?

In the case of a power outage, Escambia River Electric Cooperative requires that the renewable energy equipment be automatically disconnected from the power grid. This is to ensure the safety of any line personnel working on the power lines as well as to protect the generation equipment.

Who do I contact with further questions?

Please email any inquires to Escambia River Electric Cooperative at memberservices@erec.com, or call (800) 235-3848 to speak to our member services department.

Are inspections required? What if I need to make changes/alterations to my system?

A county electrical inspection must be performed prior to interconnection to the power grid.  Escambia River Electric Cooperative will also do a final inspection of the renewable energy equipment to ensure it follows all laws, rules, and regulations. If there are any changes or alterations to your service, this will need to be done with the help of one of our Field Engineers prior to the installation of the renewable energy system.