You, a North Central Electric Cooperative member, are being targeted by door-to-door solar panel system salespeople giving misleading or false information on rooftop panel installation costs, financing, and payback periods. This has resulted in members owing tens of thousands of dollars for inoperable, incomplete, and overcharged solar panel systems.
Let me make one thing clear. North Central Electric is NOT AGAINST rooftop solar. We are, however, AGAINST our members being taken advantage of.
To avoid becoming a victim, please:
- Call your co-op Energy Advisor toll-free before signing any contract at 800-426-3072.
- If you discover you have been provided false information, contact the Ohio Attorney General's office at 800-282-0515
- Educate yourself on solar panel systems, input, output, metering costs, utility tie in and the costs before you invest.
Solar panels are a significant home investment. Whether you're making this investment for financial reasons or environmental benefits, it's essential to research all potential outcomes. It's crucial you contact your local electric cooperative so we can provide valuable advice throughout the process as it pertains to tying into our system. We are member-owned, member-driven, and not-for-profit, meaning that we exist to improve the quality of life for our members and our communities. Every decision we make revolves around those principles and doing what is best for you.
To ensure a successful project, there are a few things every homeowner should do:
- Establish the homeowner-contractor-cooperative partnership early in the process. Each of them brings their own priorities and perspectives that can make the project more successful and avoid surprises down the road.
- Do your research and ask other solar owners if their solar installation meets their goals and expectations.
- Get written estimates from several contractors, and before you sign a contract, make sure it includes financing details and any promises made during conversations and calls.
If saving money is your goal, the best first step is to make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. An energy assessment from our Energy Advisors can help identify high-return investments and provide you with efficiency recommendations specific to your home that could help you lower your monthly electric bill.
To interconnect solar panels with the cooperatives system: there is an interconnection process, fees, and metering requirements, among other requirements. Understanding these details all upfront can save time and money.
Get a payback analysis completed. Some members have paid too much for their system and experience very high financing costs. These members are stuck with monthly payments that far outweigh any savings from having the solar panels over their lifetime.
Talk to your cooperative about net metering and the value of solar-generated energy; this is a key consideration in the payback analysis. Understand your bill will never be zero. Members still must use the cooperative electric system at night and on cloudy days. That connection to the grid provides security for you when you need it but does require maintenance which does not happen for free.
Get your cooperative involved. If you’re interested in solar, know that your cooperative is here to help. The most successful projects are the result of a transparent homeowner-contractor-cooperative partnership.
In the end, we want to help you save money, energy, and, most importantly, your time. Please do not hesitate to reach out to North Central Electric at 800-426-3072 or ContactUs@fesco-oh.org with any questions you have regarding solar installations. We are here to help.