STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
JOHNSON CITY — As many as 350 Pedernales Electric Cooperative members could have their utilities powered, in part, by solar energy as the cooperative prepares to offer a solar rate to applicants who opt into the program in December.
A fledgling solar farm on 15 acres in Johnson City — where the cooperative is headquartered — planted the seed for the program, enabling customers to avoid purchasing and installing solar panels and other equipment on their own.
“The solar projects are connected directly to the PEC distribution system, so the solar energy production will be distributed through existing PEC lines,” said PEC’s Caroline Tinsley in a statement. “(T)he primary purpose of this program is to offer PEC members who are interested in going solar and who do not wish to install their own panels with an affordable alternative.”
Avoiding the upfront expense might be the main motivation for cost-conscious customers to “go solar.”
“Any cost reduction (to utility bills) is fairly negligible,” Tinsley stated.
Estimated savings on utilities bills would amount to about $1-$2 per month “depending upon usage patterns for the average residential member as compared to base power cost.”
The cooperative will begin enrollment “up to 100 percent of their average monthly electric use” starting Dec. 4. Billing will begin Feb. 1, 2018.
Officials will select participants on a first-come, first-served basis, limited to the program’s solar output capacity.
Find more details and to sign up, go to pec.coop/solar-rate.