RBC I White River Electric Association (WREA) is pleased to share more information about the Meeker Solar Garden with its membership.
The WREA Meeker Solar Garden will be located at 450 School St. with 195 panels available for annual lease to members. The remaining panels are leased to the Meeker School District in exchange for the use of the site.
The 2016 annual lease fee is $36 with an annual solar production credit of $60. This equates to a cost of $3 a month with a total production credit of $5 per month.
WREA General Manager Alan Michalewicz stated, “The economics of the project justify the net benefit to the membership.”
White River’s patience and diligence prior to entering the solar market has paid off. The efficiencies have improved over the last several years and this value will be passed on to the membership.
“We have created a model that will allow for more affordable access to solar and it’s our goal to lease 100 percent of the available panels,” Michalewicz said. “Not every home is well suited for rooftop solar nor does every homeowner want to take on that initial expense for rooftop installation.”
Community solar gardens are a great way to centralize solar so that it has the highest efficiencies with the lowest cost.
The Meeker Solar Garden is also a responsible and economical step toward WREA’s state-mandated local renewable requirements. Each solar garden has its own economics. Different projects may require different lease fees and yield different production credits. WREA will assess maintenance and production credits each year prior to setting the annual Meeker Solar Garden Lease fee.
WREA anticipates that the Meeker Solar Garden’s annual lease fee should remain consistent into the foreseeable future.
If WREA receives more applications than available panels, WREA will select leases from a lottery drawing, not on a first-come basis. If panels remain unleased, WREA will notify members that additional panels are available for lease.
In April, WREA will notify all solar panel applicants if they have been issued a solar panel lease and provide them a lease for review, signature and payment. Signed leases and fees must be returned to the WREA by May 1.
There are no tax credits associated with the lease of a solar panel. WREA will own, operate and maintain the Meeker Solar Garden, including the individual panels. The solar panel lease has a one-year term that will renew automatically upon payment of the lease fee by June 1 annually.
WREA will continue to investigate other viable solar garden options depending upon the success of this project. Applications are available at www.wrea.org.