When you flip that light switch, turn on the TV, charge your electronic devices, adjust the thermostat or dry your clothes, the electricity powering your life comes from a reliable and diverse mix of generation resources.
I recently spoke to a JOEMC member who had inquired about the resources that generated his power. I thought that would be a good topic to review this month, along with some information and considerations for solar generation.
Currently, 61 percent of the energy we deliver to our members comes from carbon-free resources. This is a big deal and a great story to tell. This carbon-free generation is made up of 54 percent nuclear, 5 percent renewables, and 2 percent hydroelectric power. The remainder of our generation resources is comprised of 23 percent natural gas, 12 percent from market purchases, and only 4 percent from coal.
Our coal generation mix has continued its downward trend for the last several years. Renewable generation, mainly solar, continues to grow as part of our generation portfolio. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), North Carolina ranked third for total solar capacity installed through the first quarter of 2021. This means only California and Texas are ahead of us in total solar capacity.
JOEMC has 195 solar interconnections on the system, including 4 large utility-scale solar installations interconnected to our grid and 191 solar installations on homes and businesses. And it isn’t slowing down—there are currently close to 50 home and business installations in various stages of the process.
As more members consider installing solar generation and solar with battery storage on their homes, we encourage you to fully investigate the proposals from solar developers before signing for the projects. Unfortunately, we are hearing from a growing number of members who are disappointed after their project installation because their investment returns are much different from what they were promised. Please understand that there are qualified solar developers who deliver exactly what they promise. However, it is always wise to understand all the implications of this significant and long-term investment before signing any contracts.
As I have noted many times before, JOEMC does not expect members who do not install solar generation on their homes to subsidize those who do. As the old saying goes, “Everything’s affordable as long as someone else is paying for it.” This is not how we handle solar at Jones-Onslow. Through our rate policies, our goal is to be fair and recognize the true value of solar on our system for those who install it and those who do not.
To assist members in researching a proposal from a solar developer, we have developed some resources to assist you in your analysis. Visit the co-op’s Energy Center section. From there, click on the Technology and Renewables Icon and then Solar from the menu on the left side of the page.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about installing solar on your homes. We never want to see members taken advantage of. As your trusted energy partner, we want you to receive what you expected and paid for.