Solar energy is the process of harnessing the sun’s energy to perform work. The most common use today is the converting of sunlight into electricity. The sunlight can be converted into electrical energy for indoor lighting, heating water, heating and cooling buildings, or keeping swimming pools clean. Photovoltaic systems (PV) capture the energy from sunlight and convert it to electrical energy.
No. Southern Pine (SPE) is solely a distribution cooperative.
SPE does not sell or endorse any equipment or services that pertain to the installation, maintenance, or operation of a PV or other distributed generation (DG) system.
It isn’t easy to give a definitive answer because it depends on coverage, equipment, labor, etc. However, PV Watts is a great source to get you a general idea of how much a system will cost. www.pvwatts.nrel.gov.
The member needs to research to determine if installing a PV is the right thing to do.
A PV system is a hefty investment. Make sure you understand the financial burden it may cause, as well as any other expenses associated with owning a PV system.
Once you decide to move forward with solar, reach out and find a reputable installer. A good, reputable company can help advise you about the most economical sized unit to install. The following are considerations for selecting the installer:
- Reputation – are they known for doing quality work?
- Certification – are they certified to do this type of work?
- Longevity – how long have they been in business?
- Experience – don’t be afraid to ask how many installs a year they perform.
After the installer has determined what size system works best for you, you must complete an application. The installer will need to assist the owner in completing the application, which is available at www.southernpine.coop under the Engineering Services page.
When the application and all required information are submitted, a study process by the SPE engineering department begins. This process usually doesn’t take long to complete; however, it could potentially take several weeks based on the unit size and placement. Before the application is approved, a Distributive Generation Commission Fee of $135 will be required. Do not move forward with the installation before the application is approved.
When the study is complete, SPE will notify the owner or representative that the installation process can proceed.
After the installation is complete, the owner or representative should contact SPE to schedule a commissioning date. An Interconnection Agreement will be signed, and SPE and Cooperative Energy personnel shall witness the commissioning.
Once the commissioning is complete, SPE will change the meter or have the meter reprogrammed. When the meter is changed out, and the Interconnection Agreement is fully executed, SPE will notify the owner that they can turn on the solar unit and begin generating electricity.
The one-time Distributed Generation Commission Fee is $135. There are currently no re-occurring fees associated with solar or other distributed generation rates.
Yes, a Distributive Generation Rider (DGR) will be added to your existing rate schedule. Your billing cycle will change to be billed on the first business day of every month. The DGR and change in the billing cycle do not increase your energy charge (cost per KWH), nor does it affect your customer charge.
That is going to depend on your qualifications. Per the 2020 National Electric Code (NEC) 690.4.C:
The installation of equipment and all associated wiring and interconnections shall be performed only by qualified persons.
Southern Pine Electric (SPE) enforces and supports NEC 690.4.C. As it becomes more and more popular to install photovoltaic systems (PV) on homes and other applications, more and more people will become interested in performing this installation on a do-it-yourself (DIY) basis. SPE will not allow a system to be interconnected to the distribution grid unless done by a qualified professional or inspected and signed off by a qualified professional.
According to the NEC:
A qualified professional is someone who has the skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training to recognize and avoid the hazards involved.
This can be a licensed electrician who has experience in PV construction and operation. It can also be a professional engineer (PE) that is knowledgeable and qualified to sign off on PV systems. The license number or stamp would be required and shall be included with the one-line diagram.
If built D.I.Y., the qualified professional who performed the inspection and signed off on the system must be present at the time of commissioning and must walk through the system’s operation.
SPE is under an “all-requirements” contract with Cooperative Energy, meaning that any energy bought or sold on SPE’s behalf is through Cooperative Energy. Cooperative Energy will pay the consumer for the excess power put back onto the distribution system. The current price paid by Cooperative Energy is 4.5 cents/KWH.
Excess energy is generated but not used by the member’s load.
No. Your meter will need to be changed out or reprogrammed to return energy to the grid. A Southern Pine meter technician will perform this task.
Changing or reprogramming the meter ensures that your meter can keep track of what energy you are using from the grid and what energy you are putting back onto the grid. After your system is commissioned and your meter changed or reprogrammed, the meter will start measuring energy coming from the utility and coming from your system.
Please do not turn your system on and leave it on before SPE can have the meter changed or reprogrammed.
Your new bill will reflect the two energy readings as:
Received KWH – the energy you put back onto the system
Delivered KWH – the energy that you used from the grid
Typically, less than 10KW. The cap for residential installations has recently been increased to 15kW.
Commercial installations can go larger than 15kW to 2MW. Currently, the largest commercial solar farm on the SPE system is a 187kW installed at a poultry farm.
SPE is very supportive of any activity or product that is environmentally friendly and helps our members save on their electric bills. We support solar installations. We all support and encourage many energy-efficient measures and products.
Cooperative Energy has installed five 100kw solar farms across its service area, one of which is located behind the SPE campus in Taylorsville, MS. This was part of a pilot program to determine the most efficient location to install additional solar farms.
Cooperative Energy has also invested in a 53MW solar farm near Sumrall, MS in Lamar County which has been in operation since 2017.
Cooperative Energy, Southern Pine, and other cooperatives in the area are working together to develop guidelines to make solar installations more attractive.
As of December 31, 2021, the numbers for the SPE system are:
- 25 Residential Accounts
- 10 Commercial Accounts
- Total of 782.4 connected KW
- Had a total of 412,002 kwh sold back in 2021
No. Off-grid systems do not connect to the electric grid.
These are typically connected to a battery system, charged by the solar panels, so electricity will be available when the sun is not shining. One of this area’s most common off-grid systems is a solar-powered fence charger.
A solar farm is the name of a large installation of ground-based solar panels that typically supply large amounts of power directly to electric utilities. They can be owned by the utility or an independent power producer that sells large quantities of power to the utility.
Yes. You may contact Jeremiah Seal, manager of engineering services, at 601-452-8125, email him at email@example.com.