Thinking of going solar?
There are many reasons to consider switching to solar, from reducing your carbon footprint to lowering your energy bills. LPEA’s Net Metering Program allows members to generate their own electricity and to sell any excess electricity they generate back to LPEA. But not every home is a good fit for solar. Consider these guidelines as you explore powering your home or business with solar.
Prepare for Solar
Before making the switch to solar energy, members should understand their energy use patterns and consider low-cost and easy-to-implement efficiency measures before switching to solar. Doing so will ensure you get the most bang for your buck once you do invest. Make sure the energy you make from solar is not wasted.
Discover all the ways to save energy and get money back through LPEA’s programs:
- Log on to SmartHub to explore and better understand your energy use patterns.
- Get a home energy audit to help you understand where your home is losing energy and what steps to take to improve the efficiency of your home. LPEA offers a $150 rebate for residential audits and a $300 rebate for commercial audits.
- Use your appliances and electronics more efficiently or consider investing in highly efficient products like Energy Star appliances, smart thermostats, load control devices, etc. LPEA’s appliance rebates can help you make the switch.
- Switch to energy-efficient lighting, such as LED light bulbs. LPEA’s lighting rebates can help you make the switch.
- Weatherize your space. If you use electricity to heat or cool your home, this will significantly impact the amount of solar energy you need. Weatherizing your home and installing more efficient heating and cooling technologies – like heat pumps – will reduce the amount of electricity you need to produce with solar.
Steps before Going Net Metered
Once you decide to invest in solar, there are several steps to getting your new system installed.
1. Call LPEA: Each installation is different, and there are often challenges or obstacles that must be overcome before you can install a system that connects to LPEA’s grid. Our experts can walk you through the options.
2. Understand your electric use: Your solar installer will need to know how much electricity you use annually to design your system. To view your electricity usage data, sign into your LPEA SmartHub account. ‘
3. Choose a solar installer: It is important to choose the right installer. LPEA’s list of Qualified Solar Installers is a good place to start. Please visit our Solar Scams page as well to help you be aware of false advertisements. We recommend getting multiple bids to include the total cost of getting the PV system up and running, including hardware, installation, connection to the grid, permitting, sales tax, and warranty. A cost/watt and estimated cost/kWh are the most useful metrics for comparing prices across different installers, as installers may use different equipment or offer quotes for systems of different sizes. We recommend getting at least three quotes from different installers before selecting one.
4. Apply: The Installer will submit an Interconnection/Net Metering application for your annual kWh usage (up to 150%). Your installer will be able to help you complete the necessary permitting and steps and determine the appropriate size of your system based on your 12-month annual consumption history and that meets LPEA’s policies and requirements. The size will be based on your electricity needs and
- The site’s solar resource or available sunlight
- The system’s orientation and tilt
- The system’s efficiency at converting sunlight to energy. You will get the most bang for your buck on systems that are properly sized as systems that are oversized have longer payback periods.
5. Work with LPEA and your installer: LPEA allows retail net metering to the extent that the solar generation is providing for the home or business’ normal electricity usage. Retail net metering provides an incentive to members by allowing members to avoid paying for a portion of the electrical facilities needed to serve their homes. Once a member produces more energy than their home or business consumes, the additional incentive is no longer provided, and the excess annual energy is purchased from LPEA at its wholesale cost.
6. Approval & Installation: LPEA will review and approve your Interconnection/Net Metering application. Your installer will then pull and obtain all permits, install the system, complete all the necessary paperwork, install the production meter, and program the equipment to meet LPEA’s Interconnection Standards.
7. LPEA Final Inspection: Once completed, LPEA will conduct a final safety inspection and interconnect your system to LPEA’s grid.
8. Billing: Your LPEA bill will change to that of a net metered member.
Here is a guide to help you better understand how you will be billed as a net metered member of LPEA.