BEC has developed community solar, a cooperative solar farm that allows members to buy into the solar energy system.
Community solar systems are usually larger than residential rooftop systems but smaller than utility-scale projects. Since 2003, community solar capacity has grown rapidly, and experts anticipate that the market will continue to grow as consumers choose to support clean energy alternatives and lessen their dependence on fossil fuels.
BEC's community solar project is a great option for those who want to contribute to solar generation but don't have space on their roof or property. The 1.9 MW (DC) solar farm generates nearly 3 million kWh for BEC members. This project benefits BEC because the solar array reduces peak load on our electrical infrastructure in Leakey, Texas. Members like this because they can buy energy directly from BEC at a competitive, low fixed rate, allowing them to plan future finances accordingly. Renewable energy credits are owned by BEC and will be sold on the renewable electricity market to secure additional funding for our BEC members.
How Does Cooperative Owned Community Solar Work?
Energy is sold to members in 100 kWh blocks on a first-come, first-served basis. There are 2500 blocks available and BEC accepts applications for membership. We handle all of the logistical details, including site assessment, selecting and installing the equipment, interconnection and permitting details, and maintaining the system after installation.
What are the Advantages of Community Solar for BEC Members?
In nearly half of housing arrangements, consumers are not able to install their own solar system. If you rent your home or have covenants that prevent solar, or if your home is too shaded or your roof isn’t strong enough to support a solar array, you can participate in BEC’s community solar. If you can’t afford the initial investment in a solar array, you may be able to afford participation in a community solar unit.
It’s a hassle-free, clean energy solution for consumers. Engie, formerly SoCore, built, operates and maintains the system, BEC purchases the generated solar energy. Participating members are in a win-win situation: bearing a low—or no—upfront investment while reaping the monthly rewards of the clean power generated.
Community solar systems have the advantage of economies of scale. This means that costs decrease as the size of the system increases. The costs can also be spread out among multiple participants. That makes a portion of a large solar system less expensive than a comparable residential rooftop system.
Community solar is flexible. You can lease or subscribe to 100 kWh blocks and add more capacity later, if needed.
The number of blocks a member may subscribe to is dependent on their average monthly electric load.
Other Benefits, including Financial, for Community Solar Members
- Purchase your energy from a renewable source of energy
- No upfront cost to the member
- Fixed price of energy from the solar farm for the term of the subscription
- No maintenance
- No insurance costs
- No increase in property tax
BEC’s community solar clean energy option is a great choice for consumers and businesses that are not in the market for rooftop solar. They get the benefits that solar power systems offer without having to install and invest in their own solar power system.