Technology & Renewables​

Advanced Metering Infrastructure

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is a metering and communication technology that enables two-way communications between the co-op’s offices and electric meters in the field. AMI provides many functions that were previously not possible or had to be performed manually.

Solar

If you’re considering solar power, we’re here to help. More and more of our local members are interested in pursuing home solar installations, and as your local energy partner, we want to work with you to navigate the process. 

How does home solar really work? 

Whether you are interested in mounting solar panels to your roof or would like to add ground-mounted solar to your property, the sunlight-to-electricity conversion process works the same:

  1. During daylight hours on low-cloud days, sunlight will shine on your panels. These panels are often called photovoltaic or PV panels because they support the photovoltaic process of absorbing and converting light to electricity.
  1. The newly created electricity must be converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is the kind of current used in the United States because it can be “stepped up” to support traveling long distances and “stepped down” to an appropriate voltage for household appliances. The conversion to alternating current occurs in a device called an inverter.
  1. In most cases, the newly formed alternating current runs through your home’s electrical panel and powers some of your home energy needs. If your home needs more energy than the solar panels can provide, you will draw metered power from the grid, just as you would have before installing panels.

How Do Members Start the Process

If you are considering installing solar panels on the roof of your home then the size is likely to range from 1kW to 20kW and our local office can give you the paperwork to assist you through the process (or download it here). Most customers work with their solar vendor to assist with the paperwork and the coordination of panel installation, electrical wiring, and setting up the inspection of the work with the appropriate county inspections office. There is a one-time $100 application fee that must be submitted to JOEMC for this type of project which would need to be paid with the completed application.

If your planned solar facility is greater than 20 kW to 500 kW it will require a separate interconnection to the electrical system and a capacity study is required. JOEMC will provide you with the paperwork you will need to apply for this size of interconnection (please contact the office at (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515). There is a one-time $250 application fee that must be submitted to JOEMC for this type of project which would need to be paid with the completed application.

If you are considering turning large acres of land into a solar farm and the size of the project will be greater than 500kW, JOEMC can provide you the paperwork to get the process started (you’ll need to call the office at (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515). A $1,000 deposit for initiating a facilities impact study agreement is required as an engineering study must be performed for this size of project. With a facility of this size (or greater), the purchase power agreements would be through JOEMC’s power supplier, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC) located in Raleigh, NC. The interconnection agreement and interconnection facilities would be with JOEMC.

Regardless of the solar facility size, any modifications or construction cost to the JOEMC’s distribution will be paid by the owner and required prior to interconnection. The interconnection standards and agreements also include other requirements of owning a grid-tied solar installation.20

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you’re just getting started or have thoroughly researched solar energy, give our Energy Specialists a call (910-353-1940) for a free home energy assessment and to review your energy-savings goals before committing to a solar contract.

 Unfortunately, we’ve seen instances in our community where members have been misled and misinformed because of inaccurate information. We’re here to be your energy partner throughout the process, helping you to arrive at a decision right for your home and personal goals.

Another thing we always recommend is to improve the energy efficiency of your home. A more efficient home stretches your energy dollar further, and you’ll recover the expense of your solar investment more quickly.

Depending upon the size and efficiency of your system and home, most homeowners see savings on their electric bill. Some solar companies make claims that you’ll never have to pay an electric bill again, and we caution this is simply not true. Your home requires electricity even if the sun is shining, including at night and on cloudy days, which means you will continue to draw electricity from the grid and be billed monthly based on your home energy use and any basic facilities charges. 

JOEMC members with home solar are still connected to the grid. Because we are an at-cost, not-for-profit cooperative energy provider, standard charges that all members pay to ensure the reliability and safety of the electric grid for all will stay on your bill, no matter how much energy your home may produce. Without this structure, grid costs would unintentionally be shifted to members for whom home solar is out of reach for financial, geographic or other reasons.

 

This is a common question and a concept often clouded by misinformation. The best thing you can do is contact us, and one of our Energy Specialists will help you determine if solar is the right fit for meeting your financial goals.

Each of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives is independent and governed locally by an elected board of directors, which is responsible for setting and reviewing policies. This means our policies may differ from our neighboring co-ops because of our local circumstances and needs.

 At JOEMC, we compensate our members for their contributions at what is called “avoided cost” – or a price in line with what we pay for wholesale power before infrastructure and operational costs. Compensating our members for excess solar energy at “avoided cost” ensures they earn a fair price for what they produce while also paying for the infrastructure still utilized by the home.

Bottom line – Because policies vary, we encourage you to please contact us to make sure you have all the facts before purchasing solar installation. Solar installation companies may not be familiar with our co-op’s policies, and we don’t want anyone to enter into an agreement with misinformation.

Yes! The U.S. Department of Energy has a great tool for providing cost estimates on home solar installations. Please keep in mind this is an estimate only; you will have a more accurate financial picture by working with us and a professional solar installation company.

 

Ground-mounted and rooftop solar are both home solar solutions, and their difference are highlighted below for your consideration.

Ground-Mounted

Can place the array in an optimal location.

Easy to clean panels and make any needed repairs.

Rooftop

Most commonly installed; does not require expansive amounts of land and eliminates risk of tampering.

Typically, less expensive than ground-mounted arrays.

Utilizes unused space.

Yes! We support all energy solutions that are a fit for our members, uphold the safety and reliability of our grid and improve the diversity of our resources while also ensuring that costs are not shifted to members without home solar panels. Our nation’s electric grid is shifting from a model where large, centrally located generating plants produce power and push it to the far corners of the grid to a model that incorporates more distributed energy resources and technologies, like home solar. This is an exciting time in our industry, and we want our members to make a choice that is right for them. If your choice leads you to solar installation, we ask that you please let us know and work with us so you can make informed decisions and incorporate your new installation into our plans for managing electric traffic across our grid.

Yes, there is a federal solar tax credit that allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of installing solar from your federal taxes. There is no cap on its value, and the average savings is approximately, $9,000 according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Please note, these incentives decrease in 2023 and 2024. Consult with an accountant to determine your full rebate potential.

Electric Vehicles

With electric vehicles (EVs) rapidly becoming more widely available, we’ve provide some information to help you decide if an EV is right for you.

Electric-powered vehicles aren’t a new technology, and in fact, they have been around for more than a century. In the 1890’s, electric cars were more popular than gas-powered automobiles because o their simplicity, reliability and low cost of operation. Did you know that Henry Ford’s wife drove an electric vehicle? However, for a variety of reasons, electric vehicle technology languished as gas-powered automobiles took precedence. Today though, electric vehicles are making a move to the forefront of auto transportation.

We’re most familiar with conventional combustion-engine vehicles but this list ranges from most to least amount of fossil-fuel used in operation:
  • Conventional Vehicles have an internal combustion engine, the most common fuels are gasoline and diesel.
  • Hybrid Vehicles (HEVs) have both a gasoline engine and an electric motor and battery; both gas and electricity power the wheels. The electric motor and battery are designed to improve fuel economy so less gasoline is used to operate the vehicle. The battery is charged solely by operating the vehicle; plug-in is not required or possible.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) have larger batteries than hybrids and use both gas and electricity to power the wheels of the car. These vehicles vary in their electric range but shift to gasoline-only operation when battery power is depleted. These vehicles must be plugged in to recharge the battery.
  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are powered solely by electricity and are recharged by plugging in the vehicle.

There are safety features built into electric vehicles and charging equipment. The charging cable is not live while you handle it, only when the cable is connected to the vehicle. The charger senses that the connection is properly made before the electric current is turned on. Also, the charger has a ground-fault interrupter (GFI). To prevent shocks, charging stops immediately if even a few milli-amps of current leak.

NC GreenPower

In January 2004, Jones-Onslow EMC began partnering with NC GreenPower, an independent nonprofit whose mission is to expand public knowledge and acceptance of cleaner energy technologies to all North Carolinians through local, community-based initiatives. Since then, customers have signed up to make monthly contributions to the program. Our members, combined with other consumers across the state, are working to protect our environment through their tax-deductible contributions.

The program is designed to improve the environment by supporting renewable energy, carbon offset projects and providing grants for educational solar installations at N.C. K-12 schools. Customers may elect to contribute on their utility bill to help support a cleaner environment through electricity produced from renewable resources. For every $4 donated, 125 kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy is supplied to the electric grid in North Carolina, rather than from traditional sources. In addition, each $4 donation provides grants to N.C. K-12 schools for educational solar installations. Click here to learn more about NC GreenPower and the many ways they are building a brighter future for North Carolina. (https://www.ncgreenpower.org/now/)-please have links open in a new tab. To be a part of this program fill out the form below or call Jones-Onslow to sign up today and begin contributing with your next electric bill. Remember, you have the power to make a difference!



Each $4 donation provides grants to N.C. K-12 schools for educational solar installations. The NC GreenPower Solar Schools grant application opens annually from January 2 – February 28. All K-12 schools in North Carolina are eligible to apply–to learn more click here. Donations to carbon offsets may be made on their website.

Questions or Comments?

We want to hear from our customers! Reach us via email or by phone at (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515.

You have the power to make a difference. Learn more at www.ncgreenpower.org.

NC GreenPower, an independent nonprofit organization, was approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission to provide North Carolinians with greater options for their energy sources. NC GreenPower is committed to improving environmental protection by increasing renewable energy sources. NC GreenPower is a subsidiary of Advanced Energy, located in Raleigh, N.C.