Renewable Solar Generation
For the very first time, we are making it possible to tap the sun’s energy as a shared resource for our members.
By leveraging the economies of scale, this facility will allow AEC’s residential and commercial members to reap all the benefits of solar generation (including both cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability) without having to hassle with installing photovoltaic panels and without having to assume the ongoing maintenance costs required to keep them performing at maximum capacity. Cost per watt will be less than for an individual installation and energy output is maximized. Renewable Energy Credits will be issued for all panel subscriptions.
Joining together with other supporters of clean, renewable energy empowers a community of Co-op members that might not otherwise find it practicable to participate in solar generation. This includes folks who rent or homeowners whose properties are shaded or whose roofs are not well-suited for the installation of solar panels.
An area of the site will be dedicated to helping those we serve understand how solar power works and why renewable energy in general is such an important future generating source. AEC will be partnering with local schools to develop a space that can be used to help educate the next generation of Co-op members.
Project Timeline and Funding
The project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016. Co-op Community Solar is made possible in part through a grant provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority; it is one of only two pilot programs to receive this funding in the entire Valley region. AEC will rely on Knoxville-based ARiES Energy for project construction and will turn to the National Renewable Cooperative Organization to assist with project management. Project costs will be fully funded through revenue generated via a purchased power agreement with TVA. There will be no impact to AEC’s retail rates as a result of Co-op Community Solar.
- Co-op Community Solar is located on a seven-acre site adjacent to AEC’s New Market Substation, on West Highway 11E in New Market, TN.
- A total of 9,471 photovoltaic panels will be installed at the facility, each of which will be rated at 145 watts. Each panel is coated with a thin film to absorb the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. Panels will be robotically mounted, allowing that process to continue both day and night until completion.
- The facility is expected to generate over 1.8 million kilowatt-hours in the first year of operation. Based on average kWh use by AEC’s residential members, Co-op Community Solar will produce enough clean, renewable energy to supply all the power needs of approximately 130 homes for an entire year.
For More Information
AEC’s Director of Member Services, Mitch Cain, can be reached at 865.475.2032, ext. 1175 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Co-op Community Solar on Facebook and on Twitter at #Co-opSolar.