Community solar program shining for REA
Last year, Adrian Ledermann of Brandon decided to try a new energy program — community solar.
The program is offered through Runestone Electric Association (REA) in Alexandria.
Ledermann said he signed up because he wanted to promote clean energy and is a strong supporter of green energy sources.
"Signing up for the program was easy and the program is working well," he said. "I am confident that we will see savings above our initial investment over the next 20 years."
The program proved to be so popular that the 50 solar panels at REA are sold out. However, the association is gathering information on interest to see if there is a need for more panels. The hope is to build another array of panels next year.
Ryan Rooney, manager of business development and energy management at REA, said the community solar program is available to all current REA members.
Rooney, along with Kristin Dolan, CEO at the electric association, explained how community solar works.
REA members who purchase at least 450 kilowatt hours of electricity per year can participate in the program. Once members buy a solar panel, they will receive an energy credit on their monthly electric bill. The cost of one panel is $1,300. One panel is estimated to produce an average of 44 kWh per month. Based on rates from 2014, it would be equivalent to reducing your electric bill by roughly $5 per month.
In the Q&A section on REA's website, it is assumed that if the cost of electricity will continue to increase over the next 20 years, the value of the kilowatt hours would increase as well.
The community solar program has been up and running for about year and Rooney and Dolan are happy with the production from the solar array.
In its first year, the array has produced more than 25,000 kilowatt hours, which is enough to power more than two average homes for an entire year.
If REA members are interested in purchasing a solar panel, they should contact either Rooney or Dolan at (320) 762-1211. For more information on the solar program, visit the REA website at www.runestoneelectric.com.